Cabrera tries to keep focus just on baseball
Tigers defeat Blue Jays
Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera says he is only focused on baseball despite many off-field struggles before the start of spring training.
JUPITER, Fla. — Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera said he remains focused on baseball following the release of the police report detailing his February arrest on suspicion of drunken driving.
Cabrera was the first Tiger on the field in a recent practice, running through his routine conditioning drills. Afterward, he fielded questions from the media before Detroit's game against St. Louis Friday afternoon, though a team official wouldn't allow direct questions about his off-field issues.
"You've got to be step by step, you've got to be day by day," said Cabrera, who went 2 for 3 with a home run and two RBIs batting cleanup against the Cardinals. "I don't think about what is going to happen tomorrow. I'm focused about today's games. If we are going to play the Cardinals, I'm focused on what I have to do to be ready to play the game today."
Documents released by the Florida state attorney's office Thursday say Cabrera threatened a restaurant manager shortly before being arrested in Fort Pierce on Feb. 16.
Cabrera said the latest revelations aren't affecting how he approaches spring training.
"That's my work," he said. "I'm here to win games and play baseball. I don't have anything else to say about that."
Following the game, Cabrera responded to a question about the dashboard camera video that accompanied the police report with a simple, "Next question."
Detroit manager Jim Leyland echoed Cabrera's desire to answer only baseball questions.
"I'm sick of talking about this," Leland said sharply. "I've told everybody for the last time, this is being handled by professional people that are dealing with the situation and will continue to deal with the situation, and I'm tired of guys coming in here looking for [expletive].
"It is what it is. You guys probably have more information than I do. The organization, the commissioners office and everyone else is on board. The situation is being dealt with. End of the conversation."Tigers 4, Blue Jays (ss) 3
LAKELAND, Fla. — This was a win that Leyland could be proud of.
Brad Penny pitched five solid innings and pinch-hitter Ryan Strieby had a two-out single in the eighth to lead to the win Saturday.
"There were a lot of good things in that game. [Friday] we won, but it was ugly. There were things to be disturbed about in that game," Leyland said of the win over the Cardinals. "[Yesterday], there really wasn't a lot to be disturbed about."
For one, Cabrera continued to break out of a 4-for-23 spring start. After hitting a double and homer Friday, he manufactured Detroit's first run in the fourth. He walked, went first to third on Brennan Boesch's single, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Brandon Inge.
"If you want to be aggressive in a game, you have to be do that now in spring training," said Cabrera, who added a single to raise his average to .241. "You've got to keep working hard, keep playing, trying to be consistent."
Penny, who didn't pitch after May for St. Louis last year due to upper back problems, held Toronto to two runs — one earned. He allowed leadoff hits in four of his five innings, but said he was pleased with a third healthy outing this spring.
"I was behind all day. I didn't feel great, so I wasn't throwing it real hard at all. My location wasn't great either, so that's not a good combination," said Penny, who has a 0.87 ERA in three starts. "It's the third time I've faced hitters since May, so I'm pleased with it. As long as I'm healthy and throwing, I don't really care about my results in spring, good or bad."
Detroit was trailing 3-1 in the seventh, but second baseman Scott Sizemore hit a solo homer and pinch-hitter Scott Thorman had a fielder's choice.
In the eighth, pinch-hitter Ryan Strieby got a two-out single off third baseman John Tolisano's glove, scoring Ramon Santiago, who had tripled.
Reliever Daniel Schlereth, out the last two weeks with a hamstring injury, pitched a perfect eighth for the win. Leyland called the outing a "clean inning."
Al Alburquerque had a shaky ninth, allowing two hits while striking out the side for the save.NOTES:
Right-hander Jacob Turner and lefty Andy Oliver, Detroit's top two picks in the 2009 draft, threw a simulated game Saturday morning and continued strong springs, enough that Leyland called them a future "1-2 punch." ... Sizemore, competing for Detroit's second base job while Carlos Guillen's knee recovers, now has a team-best nine RBIs this spring. "Scotty had a great game," Leyland said. ... Leyland was candid in saying he doesn't expect free-agent signee Joaquin Benoit to repeat his dominant numbers from last season in Tampa Bay. Benoit had a 1.34 ERA in 63 appearances, holding opposing batters to a .147 batting average. "It's almost impossible to do what he did last year," Leyland said. "That was so unbelievable. I had guys tell me they've never seen anything like that, all year long. I'm not expecting total, total perfection from him."