Cabrera in Tigers' lineup despite alcohol incident

BY foxsports • October 6, 2009

Miguel Cabrera is playing first base and batting cleanup for the Tigers in today's one-game playoff against the Twins, despite Monday's revelations that police determined he had a .26 blood alcohol concentration only 13 hours before Saturday night's game against the White Sox in Detroit.

Police in Birmingham, Mich., responded to a call from Cabrera's wife, Rosangel, at the couple's home around 6 a.m. Saturday. Both Miguel Cabrera and Rosangel Cabrera sustained facial injuries in a physical altercation, but no charges were filed.

Bench him!

Miguel Cabrera

Morosi: Miguel Cabrera let his team and his fans down with his late-night boozing. Now there's only one appropriate response.

Cabrera spoke with the media for almost three minutes soon after the clubhouse opened to reporters this afternoon. He said he apologized to teammates on Monday; team sources indicated that Cabrera said he was sorry to individual teammates but didn't address the group at large.

Cabrera said he told the players "the same thing" he expressed in a news release issued by the team Monday afternoon; in that statement, Cabrera apologized "to the Tigers, my teammates, and all of the fans" for a "an incident that took place on Saturday."

In response to one reporter's question today, Cabrera acknowledged that he made "a big mistake."

"I'm sorry for that," he continued. "But right now, I'm (preparing) for the game. I don't want to be a distraction for the team, a distraction for the organization. I'm focused on winning today."

Then he asked that the media leave him alone so he could focus on the game, which will decide the American League Central champion. At that point, a team spokesman stepped in and halted the interview.

Three days after the fact, the team has yet to condemn Cabrera's actions; he has been in the lineup for every game since Saturday, when police found him to be "highly intoxicated."

Tigers manager Jim Leyland declined to discuss Cabrera, continuing a policy he has maintained since Sunday morning. Leyland began today's pregame news conference around the same time Cabrera spoke in the clubhouse.

After reporters left Cabrera's locker and joined Leyland's news conference, the manager was asked a repeat question. He rebuked the reporter who asked it.

"I explained that already," he said, "but you guys were going for the gossip."

When asked about Cabrera, Leyland was curt and threatened to end the interview session.

"If you want to talk about today's game, I'll talk about today's game," Leyland said. "If you talk about anything else but today's game, I'm walking right through that door."

Outwardly, Cabrera's demeanor doesn't seem to have changed as a result of his missteps. He smiled as he joked with teammates on the field during batting practice.

"Everybody gets along with him," left-hander Nate Robertson said. "He's a heckuva personality. He has fun, has a good time. He puts up pretty good numbers, too.

"Nobody's touching that (controversy). Everybody wants him to go out there, be Miguel, play the game. Everybody wants him to focus on that. That's why we don't touch it. It's something he's going to deal with. None of us are exploiting that in any way. We just want to play baseball.

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"This is a big game. Everybody worked hard to get to this point, and that's (how) we're going to play it. We want to focus on the ballgame."

Cabrera, who hit .323 with 33 home runs and 101 RBIs this season, is in the second season of an eight-year, $152.3 million contract he signed after Detroit acquired him in a blockbuster trade with the Florida Marlins.

Cabrera was the best hitter this season for Detroit. But on Friday night, with the Tigers desperately trying to wrap up the American League Central title, he went 0-for-4 and stranded four runners on base in an 8-0 loss to the White Sox.

Cabrera showed up at Comerica Park for Saturday's game against the Chicago White Sox with scratches on his face. Cabrera initially told that a dog was to blame for the cuts; he has since declined comment three times.

On Saturday night, he again went 0-for-4 and left six runners on base in a 5-1 loss to Chicago.

It wasn't immediately known where Cabrera went after Friday's game.

Rosangel Cabrera asked that her husband leave the house, so officers took him to the police station, Patterson said. Cabrera was administered a breath test by police and registered a 0.26 blood-alcohol reading, Patterson said. The legal limit for Michigan drivers is 0.08.

Cabrera was picked up at the station by Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski around 7:30 a.m. Dombrowski declined comment Monday when contacted by The Associated Press.

"I have had a conversation with Miguel," the Detroit GM wrote in an e-mail over the weekend. "It is a personal situation, and I am not at liberty to discuss it further."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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