Miguel Cabrera posts boot-free photo of himself

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Detroit — Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera tweeted out some possibly encouraging news this afternoon.

He sent out an Instagram OfficialMiggy24 of himself standing, flashing the victory sign with both hands and, more importantly, with no protective boot on his surgically repaired right ankle.

Several reports circulated this week saying Cabrera wouldn't get the boot off until the first week of training camp. Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report Feb. 19 and the team was not expecting him to be ready for the start of spring training.

Whether this latest development changes the timetable on his return is yet to be determined.

Cabrera, who had surgery Oct. 24 to clear out bone spurs and repair a stress fracture, is scheduled to be examined by Dr. Robert Anderson in early February.

Speaking during the Winter Meetings in San Diego in December, manager Brad Ausmus said he was preparing scenarios to deal with the possible absence of Cabrera.

"Well, we might eventually, but we've got to wait until January to find out where Miggy is at," he said. "If the report at that point is that it could be close in terms of time, then we might have to. But right now we'll just wait and see what happens.

"We've talked about the need to be able to move quickly on it if we have to."

Chris McCosky on Twitter @cmccosky