DETROIT — Miguel Cabrera will be the Tigers’ first baseman in 2014.
Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski confirmed Wednesday at the Joe Nathan introductory press conference at Comerica Park that Cabrera would move from third base to first base.
“We talked about it internally right after Prince’s trade,” Dombrowski said. “We felt that it would be the best situation for the Tigers overall to move Miguel back to first.
“From a defensive perspective, even though he played well at third base, we’ll settle him in at first base. Health perspective as he goes forward, at some point we figured he’d have to move back across the diamond.”
Dombrowski said they just needed to make sure that Cabrera and Castellanos were comfortable with those moves.
“We talked to Miguel,” Dombrowski said. “He’s happy to go to first. As he said, I’m a team player, I’ll do whatever is necessary to help the ballclub so he’ll play first base for us and Castellanos will move to third. We think he’ll make that transition for us.”
Dombrowski said new manager Brad Ausmus had spoken to Castellanos about switching back to third base.
“As he told Brad, almost since the day the trade was announced, he’s been taking ground balls at third so he’s eager to go back there,” Dombrowski said.
Castellanos played in 11 games with the Tigers at the end of the season, hitting .278.
“We think he’s ready to step in and play for us at the big league level,” Dombrowski said. “Don’t look for him to be a guy right off the bat that is one of your middle-of-the-lineup, key guys.
“That addresses third base. (Steve) Lombardozzi can go over there and help him out a little bit, (Don) Kelly can help him out over there, too, if we need to rest him.”