FORT PIERCE, FLA. (WWJ/AP) – Detroit Tigers’ All-Star slugger Miguel Cabrera has been arrested in Florida on suspicion of drunk driving. This is the latest episode for the first baseman who has struggled with a drinking problem.
According to the police report, a St. Lucie County Sheriff’s deputy arrested the 27-year-old Wednesday night at 11:14 p.m. The deputy pulled up to Cabrera’s car, which was on the side of the road with the smoke coming from the engine of his vehicle.
Police said Cabrera smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and took a swig from a bottle of Scotch in front of a deputy. According to the report, Cabrera’s attitude was cocky, combative, argumentative and belligerent. His eyes were bloodshot, watery and glassy and his face was flushed.
Police said Cabrera repeatedly refused to cooperate, saying, “Do you know who I am? You don’t know anything about my problems.”
One deputy struck Cabrera in the left thigh several times with his knee after Cabrera pushed into him, causing the ballplayer to fall into the patrol car.
Cabrera refused to take a breath test, deputies said.
He was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and resisting an officer without violence. Cabrera was also cited for an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle.
He posted $1,350 bond and was released from jail early Thursday. The arrest occurred about 110 miles southeast of Lakeland, where the Tigers hold spring training.
Tigers General Manager Dave Dombrowski spoke with reporters in Lakeland later Thursday. When asked about Cabrera’s attendance at the team’s upcoming spring training, Dombrowski said, “Oh, yeah, he’ll be here. We fully support him on trying to get help in this situation.”
Dombrowski said he was “completely shocked. I had no idea. I didn’t think there was a problem there.”
Team members were sympathetic.
“It’s hard,” said second baseman Carlos Guillen, who is in camp recovering from an injury. “He’s a really good friend. I know he was working hard in the winter to have a good season this year.”
“I worry about him. He’s got a lot of talent,” Guillen said. “It’s tough for him, for us, for Venezuelans.”
Thursday, WWJ spoke with Pat Caputo of 97.1 the Ticket.
“I think what the Tigers are going to have to make a decision about is, do you put him on the field knowing that he has this problem. Or, do you get him help, knowing that it’s probably going to go into the season and hurt the start of your season,” Caputo said.
“This is a $20 million-a-year ballplayer. He’s one of the best players in the game. This is the guy that you built your franchise around, and that’s gonna be a very tough decision for that organization,” he said.
In 2009, the first baseman got into a fight with his wife after a night of drinking, right before his team surrendered the American League Central Division title to the Twins. Police said Cabrera had a 0.26 blood-alcohol reading – three times above Michigan’s legal limit for driving – and Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski had to pick up Cabrera at the station. No charges were filed.
During spring training last year, Cabrera said he was done drinking alcohol after he spent much of the offseason in counseling.
“You guys write in the paper ‘alcoholic,’ that’s not right,” he said last March before a spring training workout. “I don’t know how to explain, but it’s not an alcohol problem.”
According to Dombrowski, Cabrera is at his home in Boca Raton, Florida and wants to be in camp Friday, though Dombrowski says he is unsure when Cabrera will officially report. Dombrowski was asked if he was disappointed in Cabrera, but he wouldn’t comment on that.
First position player workouts are Saturday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.