By Ashley Dunkak
COMERICA PARK (CBS DETROIT) – It would be hard to overstate the value of Miguel Cabrera to the Detroit Tigers.
As teammate Torii Hunter put it, “That’s my favorite and best and most important player on this ball club!”
Hunter has a point – Cabrera has 29 homers and 92 RBI, and the All-Star Break is still several games away.
It is understandable, then, that even though Cabrera’s back is not a major concern, Detroit manager Jim Leyland and head trainer Kevin Rand advised strongly against his competing in the Home Run Derby.
While Cabrera would have accepted the invitation for the sake of the fans who come to see sluggers put on a show, he understood and agreed with the advice of the skipper.
“Right now I’m not in my best condition to do it,” Cabrera said. “We don’t want to go back, starting the second half, with injuries, so we prefer to get rest, try to play four or five innings in the All-Star Game and try to get ready for the rest of the break.
“It’s something I’ve got to take care of right now,” Cabrera added, “and hopefully it can go away soon.”
Leyland said he does not think Cabrera’s back will be a long-term issue.
“I don’t think this is going to be something that’s going to linger,” Leyland said. “I don’t really think that. I don’t really see that. I’m not getting any vibes like that from the trainers or Cabrera.”
In the interest of having the problem clear up sooner rather than later, however, Leyland is more than willing to give the slugger breaks.
“The best part about it is, he’s got a manager that, if he needs a day or two off, he’s going to get it,” Leyland said.
“You might pick your spots to get him out of a game,” the skipper added. “Last night [in an 11-4 loss], until he hit the homer, might have been a game that you say, ‘Here, take the inning or two off.’ But if we were going to get back in that game last night, he would have had to come up again, so you’ve got to be careful with that.”