Miggy won't be in the Home Run Derby after all
DETROIT — Captain Robinson Cano was willing to hold a spot for Miguel Cabrera on the American League’s team for the Home Run Derby, waiting to see if his back felt healthy enough.
“Yeah, he already asked me,” Cabrera told reporters after Monday’s game. “I say it depends how my back is feeling. If that’s OK, I will do it.”
With Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes being penciled into that spot Tuesday evening, clearly the answer to that was ‘No.’
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said that he was planning to speak with Cabrera, but would not influence his decision.
“I haven’t but I’m going to. I’m not going to get into that. I’m going to talk to him. Ultimately, it’ll be his decision. I read some of his comments about his back and I thought his comments were very smart. Because whether people don’t know this or not, that’s a grueling experience,” Leyland said before Tuesday’s game.
“They probably need to cut it down. It’s too long and it’s too many swings for anybody. It’s showtime and people enjoy it but it’s too long and they’re taking too many swings. I don’t think that’s good. I like the home run contest but to the extent that they do it, I don’t.”
As for the common perception that swinging for the fences wrecks hitters’ swings: “I don’t know that. But I think you’ve got a chance of somebody getting hurt, more so than the swing.”
And that’s the last thing the Tigers want for the reigning AL MVP, who appeared to hurt his back again late in Tuesday’s game.
“I don’t think he hurt his back but he’s not 100 percent. That’s why he’s not going to hit in the home run contest,” Leyland said afterward. “In talking with the trainers, this is one where the trainer talked about it, he talked about it with me, he talked about it with Miguel. I preferred that he did not do it. Obviously I couldn’t tell him that he couldn’t do it, that’s up to him. With the trainer’s advice and recommendation and my recommendation, he’s not going to hit in the home run contest.
“He’s not 100 percent and I think that would be pretty ridiculous to go up there and take a whole bunch of swings trying to hit home runs with his back the way it is. Even though he’s fine, he can play, he’s not 100 percent.”
The Home Run Derby teams will consist of Cano, Cespedes, Baltimore’s Chris Davis and Cabrera’s teammate, Prince Fielder, the reigning champ. The Mets’ David Wright, the NL captain, chose Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer, along with the Nationals’ Bryce Harper.