Leyland on whether back would keep Cabrera out of ASG: 'That was never an issue'
DETROIT — Miguel Cabrera’s bad back will keep him out of the Home Run Derby.
That’s what he and the Detroit Tigers braintrust agreed to.
But manager Jim Leyland said he hasn’t taken that a step further, and considered sitting his slugger for the All-Star Game itself.
“No, that was never an issue,” Leyland said before Sunday’s game, the final contest before the break.
Leyland and head trainer Kevin Rand spoke with Cabrera last week to convince him not to accept the invitation to hit in the Home Run Derby.
“I think it’s a very smart move and that was something that Kevin Rand and I recommended to him very highly not to do that and he complied with that. I don’t think it’s a major issue,” Leyland said at the time.
“I think it will get better even though he’s playing. I think the All-Star break will do him some good. I don’t think he’ll be going through this all year long if that’s what you mean. I don’t think that. I think it’s one of those things that it’s fine unless a certain thing happens, where he has to make a quick move or something. That seems to be when it might flare up momentarily and then it kind of goes away,” Leyland said. “I don’t think his back is an issue other than the fact that I don’t think he’s 100 percent.”
Although Cabrera will be playing in his eighth All-Star Game, it’s the first time he’s been voted to start by the fans. He started the 2010 game at first place, replacing the injured Justin Morneau.
Leyland has said he’ll play his starters — including Cabrera — more than the mandated minimum of three innings.
“I think he’ll play more than that,” Leyland said.
“I’m going to play him. I’m not going to play him nine innings, but I’m going to play him. I’m going to play him more than three innings to start, I can tell you that right now.”