The biggest question surrounding the Tigers' spring training is whether Miguel Cabrera can play third base. He lost about 20 pounds over the winter and has said all the right things since Prince Fielder came aboard, but the jury is still out. He didn't get off to a great start by booting the first ball hit to him this spring, but since he's committed to putting in the work (at least publicly), I think he'll start showing signs of improvement. He was certainly becoming a solid first baseman before making the switch across the diamond.
In today's game against the Phillies, Miggy's mission took a bad hop - literally. Phillies right fielder Hunter Pence hit a screamer down toward Cabrera at the hot corner. A little bit of waiting back on the ball and one terrible hop later and Cabrera had to exit the game for stitches and facial x-rays.
The novice might say that we should get used to it, but that's a play that could even eat up a lot of proven third basemen. Yes, Cabrera sat back on the ball a little bit, expecting a big hop, the hop he got was wicked. Despite the blood, having to leave the game and getting stitched up, the play could be pivotal in Cabby's development at third.
Will he start shying away from hard hit balls, which he'll get his fair share of? Or rather, will he learn that he can't sit back on everything and rely on his strong arm, but instead come get the good hop? In this case, there was no good hop, so we'll just be glad that the injury doesn't look too serious - minus any lasting mental effects.
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