Healthy again, Miguel Cabrera’s ready to go for Tigers – Bob Wojnowski, Detroit News
Since the Tigers lost in the American League Championship Series to the Red Sox, Cabrera has undergone hernia surgery and seen his slugging buddy Prince Fielder traded and his long-time manager retire. Then, oh, by the way, he agreed to switch from third base to first. And yet here he was, healthy and cheerfully eager to start anew, a reminder that in addition to his hitting stardom, Cabrera remains one of the game’s unheralded team players.
“Yeah, he was a big part of our team. When you see somebody get traded, you don’t want that. But I don’t put extra negative things in my head because everybody talks about it. I got a great hitter behind me, and people in the big leagues got a lot of respect for Victor (Martinez).”
Some will fret about who bats cleanup after Cabrera — winner of back-to-back AL MVPs hitting in front of Fielder — and that’s understandable. But, Martinez should return to the role, and while he doesn’t have Fielder’s menacing power, he did hit .330 in 2011 behind Cabrera.
Ausmus was asked what he thought of the term “small ball.”
“I don’t love the phrase,” Ausmus said. “I like homers. But it’s a different team. Trading Prince (Fielder), you lose a little bit of power, but our players have other assets, other capabilities, so you try to take advantage of them.”
“In baseball, especially in the American League, for the most part, you want to play for the big inning,” Ausmus said. “You don’t want to limit yourself to one run. If the heart of your order is coming up, fourth, fifth, sixth, I don’t know that you want to bunt with no outs and you get that one run in but you haven’t gotten to that four-, five-, six-hole, where you would have scored three runs. You’ve got to be smart about it, but there are times when it’s called for.”
Detroit Tigers’ Alex Avila likes the speed of his team, his new Corvette – Mark Brudenell, Detroit Free Press
“The last three years we have been in the playoffs,” said Avila, who suffered leg and wrist injuries last year plus a concussion. “I guess when you succeed, you have a rounded team.”
But Avila added he liked how the Tigers are shaping this year as the team prepares for spring training, particularly on the bases and in the outfield, where there appears to be potentially more speed.
New Tiger Joe Nathan craves pressure of closing for a winner – Shawn Windsor, Free Press
Pressure? Of course there is pressure. That’s why Joe Nathan came here. He wanted to pitch in the ninth inning when it matters. He wanted buzz after Opening Day. He wants the longest season in professional sports to feel like the shortest.
All Nathan did last year was save 43 games, post a 1.39 ERA and compile a 0.987 WHIP — that’s awfully good.
To top it off, Nathan put up those numbers three years after Tommy John surgery, displaying resilience and proving he hadn’t forgotten how to close.