Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 8/18/12
Mlb_indians_at_2209
Miguel Cabrera this season has been more openly demonstrative than ever before. He will pound the water jug like a bongo when frustrated and make pointed comments to teammates when the need arises. Cabrera also is much looser, happier and has developed a whole set of handshakes and interactive hand jive with teammates. Neither Cabrera nor first baseman Prince Fielder have a name for the ever-evolving ritual of patty cake and imaginary sprinkling with their fingers that they get together for after homers, wins and anything that makes them happy. No name for it, Cabrera said. We dont call it anything, Fielder said. But it keeps changing; thats for sure. I asked Tigers manager Jim Leyland on the phone Friday if Fielder has been the greatest source of Cabreras new-found happiness. But Leyland's answer went in an entirely different direction. What Miguel did was take the third base job very seriously, and that pumped him up. he said. Its where he wanted to play the last few years. Hes really happy and in really good spirits. Cabrera moved from third base to first base early in the 2008 season, and Brandon Inge eventually settled in again at the hot corner. Inge made the 2009 All-Star team and the daily fielding highlight reels. But then injuries began sapping his ability to produce. We kind of knew it that (Cabrera) wanted to play at third, Leyland said. So, Cabrera expressed that desire even before Fielder signed as a free agent before spring training? Yeah, Leyland said. And so the call Leyland made after Fielder signed on for nine years at 214 million on Jan. 27 was not really the shocker its been made out to be. I called Miggy when we got Prince to ask him to play third, Leyland said. He said, Absolutely. Cabrera cut weight and toned his body to ready for the challenge. Hes been adequate in the field and is on pace for his finest offensive season as a Triple Crown challenger. Leyland is promoting Cabrera for his first AL MVP award after five top-five finishes in MVP voting. In a recent Detroit radio interview with Mike Stone, Leyland said, If the voting was today, Miguel Cabreras the MVP. However, he could run into one of these Wonderboy stories, a young kid, 20 years old. "Everybody gets excited about that. Everybody loves that. Its got a nice ring to it. It should have. So, I think thats dangerous for Miggy. Leyland said any negative reactions to that comment are undeserved. I love the (Mike) Trout kid, Leyland told me. Hes one of the best players Ive seen. And Wonderboys got a nice ring to it. Thats a compliment. On Cabrera, Leyland added, Hes been Superman, Batman. Hes the MVP. Hes not only doing it this year, but hes been doing it for a long period of time. "He had hit 30 homers and driven in 100 runs for five straight years before this year. Cabrera is batting .329 with 31 homers and 104 RBIs after clearing the bases one more time Friday night against the Orioles. Trout, who turned 21 on Aug. 7, is hitting .339 with 22 homers, 66 RBIs, 38 stolen bases, 93 runs and three homers robbed with stupendous leaps over outfield fences. He leads the league in batting, runs and steals. Cabrera is first in RBIs, second in average and tied for third in homers. In a recent Baseball America poll of managers, Cabrera was chosen the leagues best hitter. Leyland, 67, was selected the leagues top manager by his peers in that poll. He has Detroit 1 12 games behind the White Sox in an attempt to become the first Tigers team to win consecutive division titles. The Tigers havent won anything consecutively since the 1934 and 1935 pennants won under player-manager Mickey Cochrane, a Hall of Famer. Leyland, managing on a one-year contract, was asked about coming back in 2013. I have no idea, he said. At some point, they will tell me if I will be back or I will not be back. But I dont want any distractions like this. I asked Leyland if he wanted to come back. I hope so, he said. But Im not getting into that. There are 43 games to be played in the stretch drive, and thats where he wants the focus to be placed. A second wild-card berth has been added for this postseason. Those two wild-card teams will play one game to determine which one advances to a five-game series with a division champ. Leyland was asked if he thought it was a good change because it places more emphasis on winning your division. I think so, he said. You set your goal to win the division. If not, you take whats left. "Were trying to win the division, but the White Sox have been awfully stubborn. Up to now, theyve played better than us. Theres plenty to be settled over the next seven weeks. Detroit has much to win and much to lose.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Five most anticipated September MLB call-ups
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Madden 17's live commentary tackles Kaepernick controversy

EON Sports strikes VR partnerships with Miami, PSU

Mike Tyson accused of stealing ice cream treat at U.S. Open

Calvin Johnson to join DWTS, sister says he ‘can’t dance’

Eagles rookie nixes anthem protest after talking to agent

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Romo has no ligament damage, to resume training soon

Michael Phelps to be honored with unique Wheaties box

Woman suing Brewers after being struck by foul ball

Report: ‘Strong chance’ J.J. Watt will play in Week 1

Broncos name Trevor Siemian their Week 1 starter

Report: Jets fielding calls for Geno Smith

The hottest MLB pitchers headed into September sprint

Kanye West, Saint Pablo Tour and the anti-celebrity

WATCH: John Randle on the first time he talked trash in the NFL

The hottest hitters in MLB heading into September sprint

Who has the most to prove at the US Open?

Vontaze Burfict on Steelers: ‘I don’t give no f—s about them’

Alistair Overeem: Brock Lesnar will never return to UFC

Top five Heisman Trophy candidates for 2016

Five young NFL players set to explode in 2016

A sports history of not standing up for the national anthem

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

Six NFL quarterbacks the Cowboys must consider

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The hottest MLB pitchers headed into September sprint

West-ern Literature: How Kanye's fans find meaning in between the lines

Madden 17's live commentary tackles Kaepernick controversy

Kanye West, Saint Pablo Tour and the anti-celebrity

WATCH: John Randle on the first time he talked trash in the NFL

The hottest hitters in MLB heading into September sprint

Who has the most to prove at the US Open?

A sports history of not standing up for the national anthem

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker