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Leyland: Seeing Miguel Cabrera play hurt “kind of breaks your heart”

Oct 19, 2013, 7:30 PM EDT

Miguel Cabrera Getty Getty Images

Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera played with a sore groin throughout most of the second half of the season, limiting his ability to defend his Triple Crown. The soreness has continued to bother him throughout the post-season both at the plate and defensively at third base. Opposing teams have considered attacking him with bunts, but Cabrera has adjusted by playing way up on the grass against speedier players. He is hitting .278 with one home run in the ALCS against the Red Sox after hitting .250 with one homer in the ALDS against the Athletics.

Manager Jim Leyland laments that Cabrera isn’t fully healthy, depriving fans of seeing one of this generation’s greatest hitters. Via Tim Healey of WEEI:

“It’s really a shame, to be honest with you, for the whole baseball world because they’re not getting a chance to see him at his best,” Leyland said of Cabrera. “This time of year, people are turning on the TV, they love to see these guys. Obviously I think he’s the best player in the league. To not be able to see him at his best because of a physical ailment, it hurts a little bit, but that’s just the way it is. You have to live with those things.”

[...]

“It kind of breaks your heart, to be honest with you, to see him out there the way he has to be out there and the way he is right now because you know he’s hurting,” Leyland added later. “Everybody is conscientious these days about people earning their money. You talk about somebody who is earning their money, this guy feels like he owes it to the Detroit Tigers and our fans to be out there”

Should the Tigers get pushed out of the playoffs, either in Game 6 or Game 7, it won’t be the fault of Cabrera’s ailing groin, however. While he may be injured, he has still been among the more productive Tigers hitters. First baseman Prince Fielder has just four hits in 19 at-bats in the ALCS, none of them homers. Torii Hunter is hitting .217. Austin Jackson has five hits, all singles. Omar Infante is hitting .176.

  1. disgracedfury - Oct 19, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    Leyland should be blamed because with a 7 game lead in the division with two weeks to play Leyland should have gave Cabrera some rest yet they put him at third everyday.

    Leyland should be fired if he doesn’t win because it’s his fault for having a rusty dull team that lost the world series last year to a beat up team this year.

    • bender4700 - Oct 19, 2013 at 9:54 PM

      1. The injuries to Cabrera won’t go away in a week or two. Will take a few months.
      2. Cabrera did miss time. Injuries still there.
      3. It’s not like Cabrera was pleading to sit and Leyland said no. Most likely Cabrera was arguing to play and Leyland argued to sit him.

      Blaming Leyland for Miggy not being 100% is just ridiculous.

      • bender4700 - Oct 19, 2013 at 10:04 PM

        Thumb it down all ya want, but I’m right. Real easy to say what you would have done, now that you know how things panned out.

        At one point it looked like Cleveland may catch Detroit. So yeah, having your best player on the bench would REALLY be great!

    • bender4700 - Oct 19, 2013 at 9:58 PM

      If they fire Leyland, it will be the stupidest move in franchise history.

      2 World Series appearances (possible 3 this season)
      3 straight ALCS appearances
      Winning Franchise that is very much in the running the next several years with who they have under contract.

      Not many managers can say that, so firing him, would be REALLY stupid.

      The kind of stupid that people who nobody pays a dime to make those kind of decisions to say. Ya know, internet general managers aka Captain Hindsights.

      Ask fans of half the league if they’d trade their teams run the last 10 years with Detroit’s. 99% yes, the Cubs would say no because they enjoy being the losers.

  2. alexo0 - Oct 19, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    It broke my heart in August when Cabrera was hurt and the Tigers were running away with the division and Leyland wouldn’t give him days off in order to allow him to recover for the playoffs.

    • bender4700 - Oct 19, 2013 at 10:03 PM

      As I said to the last person who said this:

      He did miss time, his injuries won’t heal over a week or two. Cabrera would have sat if he wanted to sit.

      Plus, if Miggy sat for a month, the lead shrank (which it did), and the Indians got into first place, Leyland is a moron for sitting his best guy.

      These Captain Hindsights who conveniently forget facts are just ridiculous. Miggy has two home runs in the post season, and several hits. What the hell do you want from the guy! It’s not like he was Flash Gordon on the bases before the injuries!

    • alexo0 - Oct 19, 2013 at 11:36 PM

      Hi, Captain Hindsight here.

      I’ll agree with you that if something is torn in Miggy, that one DL stint would not be enough, and really not much could be done.

      But let’s say it’s a strain, which a DL stint will go a long way to help recover if not totally heal.

      Detroit went 19-11 in August, and 13-13 in September.

      Miggy hit .356/.430./.733 in August, and .278/.395/.333 in September. He had two extra base hits that month.

      So you’re saying that if you put Cabrera on the DL in September, that those numbers are not replaceable? And that having a healthy Cabrera back would not have won the Tigers a few more games, making the division race less close?

      And you’re also saying that you wouldn’t do what you could to get a vintage Cabrera back, knowing that it’s impossible for him to get healthy if he keeps playing, and that your chance of playoff success is greatly enhanced by having him healthy?

      Yes, Cabrera has his share of hits these playoffs, but how many times has he come up late with runners on base only to strike out or hit into a dp? As I write this, he had runners on and two out in the 7th, only to ground out weakly to second. It’s to the point where Detroit does not want to see him up in key situations.

      And no player will ever choose to sit, even if they are injured.

  3. Francisco (FC) - Oct 19, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    Ah, don’t-take-my-heart, don’t-break-my-heart
    Don’t, don’t, don’t throw-it a-way

    Historio! Here’s your daily song!

    • happytwinsfan - Oct 19, 2013 at 8:51 PM

      don’t know what that means but it gets a thumbs up from me

    • yahmule - Oct 19, 2013 at 9:31 PM

      I kind of liked Tears for Fears.

  4. jcmeyer10 - Oct 19, 2013 at 8:43 PM

    Leyland said as he took a long drag from his cigarette with a whiskey neat on the table in front of him.

    • happytwinsfan - Oct 19, 2013 at 8:52 PM

      yes yes yes. my hero

      • jcmeyer10 - Oct 19, 2013 at 9:22 PM

        Picture association game with Jim Leyland for me? God from the Big Lebowski.

      • yahmule - Oct 19, 2013 at 9:33 PM

        He kind of reminds me of Uncle Jack.

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