Tigers Miguel Cabrera, Torii Hunter win Silver Slugger Awards for 2013
Both Miguel Cabrera and Torii Hunter took home the Louisville Slugger-sponsored honor, announced Wednesday.
It’s the fifth time Cabrera has won the award, and the third time (2010/1B, 2012/3B) since joining the Tigers. Hunter’s only other Silver Slugger award came in 2009, as a member of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Despite a debilitating groin injury that limited him in the final month of the regular season and in the playoffs, Cabrera won the American League batting title for the third straight year (.348), finishing second in the AL with 137 RBI and 44 home runs — a better statistical campaign than his Triple Crown year in 2012.
“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. He's tough as nails. I have so much respect for him. 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, he owes it to the team,” now-departed manager Jim Leyland said of Cabrera’s effort in the playoffs.
“He's out there, he's doing the best he can. It breaks your heart as a manager. 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. 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, and you live with those things.”
Hunter hit .300 for the second time in his career, finishing at .304 with 84 RBI, 17 home runs and 37 doubles.
“He's done very well on the field. He's obviously a tremendous athlete, tremendous guy. One of the toughest players I've ever managed. But what he's done on the field has been the biggest thing for us. He's gotten big hits, he's a good defender. Doesn't run quite as good as he used to. He's a very good player, and he's tough,” Leyland said of Hunter during the playoffs.
“That's really why we signed him. When we signed him, we got exactly what we thought we were going to get. And he's done a terrific job. And I think this time of year a lot of the veteran players are a little older. They get a new life, it's a new breath of fresh air. And I'm sure that's the way Torii is feeling right now.”