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Jim Leyland won’t be removing Miguel Cabrera from games for defensive purposes

Mar 13, 2012, 10:15 AM EST

Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera throws the ball during their MLB spring training workout in Lakeland, Florida

Publicly at least the Tigers have been saying good things about Miguel Cabrera‘s transition back to third base this spring and yesterday manager Jim Leyland took it a step further by reiterating that Cabrera will not be removed from regular season games in the late innings for a better defender.

“He’s the third baseman,” Leyland told Jason Beck of MLB.com. “That’s the way it is and I’m not ‘defensing’ for him. I’ve seen that too many times.”

Leyland is referring to the times when an excellent hitter is removed from the game for a better defender only to have his lineup spot come to the plate again in a key spot, which is most often an issue during the playoffs when over-managing is far more common.

Leyland sounds very committed to not taking Cabrera out of games defensively, but he’ll be tempted on a daily basis thanks to Brandon Inge and/or Ramon Santiago likely being on the bench most games.

  1. Lou Dylan - Mar 13, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    Actually, taking Prince out and shifting Miggy to 1st makes more sense than just replacing Miggy at 3rd. But, they probably won’t do that either.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 13, 2012 at 11:50 AM

      But that leaves the same potential problem if Fielder’s lineup spot comes up to bat again.

      • Lou Dylan - Mar 13, 2012 at 12:00 PM

        I didn’t say it didn’t. Just think it’s interesting how the “defensive replacement” talk is all about benching Cabrera, when he should actually stay in the game and move to 1st in any defensive replacement strategy.

  2. 78mu - Mar 13, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    If he does leave him in I bet the shortstop will be positioned close enough to shake hands with Miggy.

    • lionsplayoffs - Mar 13, 2012 at 11:58 AM

      That would be a great strategy if we had Jose Reyes. Peralta runs like he’s dragging a piano, so he can’t play tight to Miggy like that.

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