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Published: Tuesday, 3/20/2012

Tigers' Cabrera bloodied by batted ball

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Miguel Cabrera had stitches after being struck by a ball hit by Hunter Pence. Miguel Cabrera had stitches after being struck by a ball hit by Hunter Pence.
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CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Miguel Cabrera looked like a prize fighter on the wrong end of a right hook.

Cabrera left Monday's 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies with a bloody face after a hard grounder from Hunter Pence hit Detroit's six-time all-star near the right eye.

Cabrera was taken to a hospital to receive stitches and get precautionary X-rays.

"We don't have any information," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said, repeating that answer several times.

Cabrera was wearing sunglasses, and it's uncertain whether the wicked one-hopper hit the right lens or just under it. He wiped blood off with his hand and held a towel to his face as he walked off the field.

"It swelled up," Leyland said. "Basically he looked like a fighter that needed a cut man and wasn't doing any good in the fight."

Cabrera's head snapped back as the ball shot up. He stayed on his feet, but seemed dazed.

Cabrera is making the transition back to third base this spring because Detroit signed first baseman Prince Fielder. Even a Gold Glove third baseman would've likely been hit by Pence's shot.

"He'd be in the same place as Cabrera, getting stitches," Leyland said when asked whether anyone else would have had a chance to make that play.

Former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona concurred.

"You're going to pick up the paper tomorrow and read that Cabrera can't play third base," Francona said on ESPN's broadcast. "But that ball hits every third baseman in the majors in the face."

Cabrera hasn't played third base regularly since 2007 with Florida. He started 14 games there in 2008 and hasn't made an appearance at third in the last three seasons.

One bad hop isn't going to make Leyland change his mind about the risky move.

"He's doing real good. He's doing fine," Leyland said. "Watch him play, write what you want, give your opinion what you think. He's doing great at third base."

Jimmy Rollins hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly for the Phillies.

The three-time all-star shortstop and former NL MVP was concerned about a bad hop himself after seeing Cabrera get hit.

"Unfortunately, he had glasses on because it gave him a gash," Rollins said. "Fortunately, he had glasses on because that can rip a socket out."

Before the game, the Phillies announced that second baseman Chase Utley left camp to see a specialist for his injured knees and he's likely to start the season on the disabled list.

"I would think it would be doubtful for him to be prepared to play second base for us on opening day," general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr., said. "Really this is about making sure he's healthy and playing a significant amount of the season"

Gomez leads Tribe

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Cleveland starter Jeanmar Gomez pitched one-hit ball for four innings in his first Cactus League start as the Indians defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3.

The right-hander has yet to give up a run in 11 innings over four outings.

Jose Lopez had an RBI single off the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw in the first.

Carlos Santana hit the first pitch from Dodgers reliever Javy Guerra for his second homer and a 2-0 lead. Lonnie Chisenhall added a two-run single in the eighth for Cleveland.

Kershaw pitched into the sixth inning. The NL Cy Young Award winner allowed one run and three singles over 5⅓ innings. The left-hander walked two and struck out four. He got eight outs on grounders and has a 0.79 ERA in 11⅓ innings this spring.



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