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JUST IN: Detroit Tigers Miguel Cabrera breaks silence

Apr 20, 2017; St. Petersburg, FL, USA;Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) reacts after he stuck out during the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Another year, another Autumn without Detroit Tigers baseball. Part of the reason for that was the injury to Tigers big-hitter Miguel Cabrera, who ruptured his biceps tendon during a swing on June 12th. He’s been on the shelf and on the mend since then, and has been sorely missed.

The Tigers ended their season with a 64-98 record, which obviously means they’ll be missing the playoffs this year. But Cabrera has given Tigers fans a glimmer of hope to look forward to going into next year.

“If we were going to play in the playoffs, I think I’d be able to be ready right now,” Cabrera said. “But they don’t want to push me, because we got a lot of time. But I talked to the trainers, the doctor and if we got a chance to go to the playoffs — if it was a big chance — I could play right now.”

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Cabrera has had roughly 4 months of rehabbing his arm, and in that time he’s obviously kept close tabs on the Tigers’ progress this season. While he was unable to help Detroit for much of this year, he’s already looking forward to next year, and believes that he’ll be ready come Spring training.

“It was really tough, because it was kind of sad to watch the games on TV,” he said. “But at the same time, I had a lot of time to think about, to see what I want to do the next five years in Detroit. I hope I can be mentally strong and physically to come in here and play good baseball.”

The 35-year old Cabrera knows he’s aging, and he knows he hasn’t helped that process by playing hurt in the past. With $154 million still owed to him over the next five years with Detroit, they want to keep him as healthy as possible for as long as possible. This means taking steps such as playing him at designated hitter more often to preserve his health. Cabrera understands that it could be for the betterment of the team as a whole.

“I always focus on how I can help the team be better,” he said. “So [general manager] Al [Avila], [manager Ron Gardenhire] will sit with me and talk about that. I’m very open to talk, but I like to play first.

“But if they decide to give me a lot more days at DH, I gotta think about it, if it’s better for the team and better for my health, I gotta say, ‘Yeah.’ ”

On defense, it’s expected that the healthy Cabrera will remain the Tigers’ first baseman, and will continue to have an impact there. He was greatly missed by Detroit on the defensive end of the game.

Cabrera is already champing at the bit to get a bat back in his hands, but he has another long wait ahead of him still. Here’s to hoping 2019 is a more fortuitous year for the big-hitter.

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