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Detroit Tigers’ veteran Miguel Cabrera reveals 2019 intentions

MLB: Spring Training-Pittsburgh Pirates at Detroit Tigers
Mar 2, 2017; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) hits a single to right during the second inning of a MLB spring training baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

38.

That is the number of games Miguel Cabrera played for the Detroit Tigers in 2018.

36.

That is the age Cabrera will be on April 18 of the 2019 season.

5.

Those are the minimum number of seasons Miggy is still under contract with the Tigers.

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So, the big question as we head into the 2019 campaign is, will Miguel Cabrera begin transitioning into the Tigers’ full-time designated hitter?

Well, according to Miggy, he still wants to be playing in the field.

“I want to be in the game. I want to be on the field,” Cabrera said.

Miggy added that if asked, he would be willing to do what is best for the team.

“But if they talked to me, I’m always open to everything. If the team looks better with me at DH, then put me at DH. If the team looks better with me at first, put me at first. But that’s not my decision.”

Tigers’ manager Ron Gardenhire says he will rely on trust when it comes to giving Miggy the rest he needs throughout the season.

“Your body dictates (playing time),” Gardenhire said. “It was the same way with Victor Martinez last year: ‘If you need a day, tell me and we’ll take you out.’ Victor was very honest with me and that’s what I am going to ask of Miggy: ‘Be honest with me.’”

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Cabrera is coming off of arm surgery but he is more concerned about keeping his back and legs ready for the day-to-day grind of a Major League Baseball season.

“I worry more about my back and my legs,” he said. “They are feeling great right now. No injuries. I just have to keep stretching, keep doing the exercises and stay consistent with that.”

Despite the physical challenges that come with age, Cabrera is confident he will get the job done in 2019.

“I missed the game a lot last year,” he said. “Being back on the field, I feel great. I feel good about being healthy this year. I feel I can do my job this year.”

He also knows just important it is for him to be around for the younger players on the team who look to him for leadership.

“You lead by example,” he said. “I’ve got to go out there and do everything right, so they can watch me. I can be an example on the field if they want to follow me or follow (Nick) Castellanos or some of the other guys.

“The bottom line is, it doesn’t matter if you are young or old, you’ve got to stick together. That’s the only way we can win games.”

By all accounts, Cabrera is ready to prove to the world that he is still more than capable of being one of the best hitters in baseball.

To be honest, it would be foolish to think that’s impossible.

 

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