Minneapolis — Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera denied telling a reporter the groin muscles he had surgically repaired this offseason are still affecting him.
A story published by USA Today on Monday said Cabrera, in Spanish, talked about the lingering injury.
“There are times when I feel good, but there are always muscles that are tightening, muscles that are not functioning properly,'” Cabrera told USA Today. “It's part of the process. The same thing is happening to Justin Verlander, but the difference is he pitches every five days, so you don't see it as frequently.”
“But as he and I talked about, we're never going to offer any excuses for our performance. We always want to be out on the field and compete, and I think that's the most important thing we can do, compete and try to get past this tough time. And the main thing is we're in first place.”
Before the All-Star Game at Target Field on Tuesday, Cabrera denied making the comments.
“I didn’t say that,” he said.
Cabrera only talked for a minute at the beginning of American League media availability and did not want to discuss the injury that slowed him at the end of last season. After hearing the quotes from the story, Cabrera said situations like this are the reason he rarely talks to the media.
As he walked out of the clubhouse, Cabrera said of the injury, “I’m good.”
Cabrera is hitting .306, but his slugging percentage is .534 after being .636 last season. His 14 home runs are behind his typical pace, though he does lead the AL with 34 doubles.
In the USA Today story, he said the lingering injury is the reason for the decline in power.
“I think it has affected me quite a bit, like last year, when in the last month I wasn't using my bottom half, my feet and the waist area,” Cabrera said. “I hope I can slowly regain that. The good thing is I haven't gotten too anxious. I just try to find ways to help my team win.”