LAKELAND, Fla. — The Tigers took the field without Miguel Cabrera Saturday morning in Lakeland, the first day of full-squad workouts.
Team president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said for the immediate future, Cabrera would not join the team. It was a decision made with Cabrera, his agent, the Players’ Association and the commissioner’s office.
“Basically, we’ve all decided that it’s best that he be continuing to visit and find out what’s taken place to be in a position where they can meet with him, some doctors, at the beginning of the week and completely assess what has taken place,” Dombrowski said. “Until that happens, we’ve all decided it’s better for him to do that away from camp, even though he would love to be here.”
After Cabrera meets with the doctor and the doctor makes his recommendation, the Tigers will go from there.
Dombrowski said he had spoken with Cabrera several times and that he was completely receptive and cooperative with the current plan, even though it means he is not with the team for now.
“He realizes that he’s had an alcohol problem in the past that he’s addressed and he’s worked through and he fell off of that program,” Dombrowski said. “He acknowledges that and will do what’s necessary to get him back on track.
“But I will also say he’s extremely down. He wants to be here. He feels terrible, I guess would be the way to describe it, that something happened that he’s not here, but he understands the importance of making sure that this is properly evaluated and he’s helped however he can and everybody’s in agreement with that. He’s as down as he can be. He feels terrible.”
Dombrowski stressed that Cabrera was doing everything he was supposed to be doing during the offseason. He was at daily workouts early in the morning with his trainer, Magglio Ordonez and Alex Avila in Fort Lauderdale. At night, he was home with his family.
Dombrowski said this was the first time to his knowledge that Cabrera had fallen off the wagon.
“But we all know that with alcoholism, you’re in a position where it’s a daily battle,” Dombrowski said. “We’ve said that all along. He understands that and that’s why he feels terrible.
“He’s worked very, very hard on this. What caused this? I do not have any idea, but he feels terrible because he’s worked very hard. He wants to be here.”
Dombrowski said the entire organization would support Cabrera, which manager Jim Leyland echoed.
“We are family; we support family,” Leyland said. “I can promise you, I will be there for him, as I would any of our other players. That’s the way we work around here. We support one another. We are a family.
“Honestly, it’s not just the Tigers family; it’s the baseball family. It’s one of the great parts of our game. We compete against each other, but in certain situations we pull for each other.”
For the immediate future, Leyland said that Don Kelly will be working in the outfield but would also help at first base.
“Because of starting for whatever the period of time is, I don’t know, starting without Miguel, so we’ll have to put somebody over there to help out in drills and stuff,” Leyland said. “He can be one of those guys.”