Tigers say Cabrera could be ready for opening day

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

All things considered, the Tigers got the best case scenario regarding slugger Miguel Cabrera.

The results of a CT scan performed in Miami on Tuesday showed Cabrera's surgically-repaired right foot was "displaying a good progression of healing," according to a statement issued by the operating surgeon Dr. Robert Anderson.

Anderson cleared Cabrera to begin non-impact baseball activities — essentially hitting in the cage and throwing — and added, "While there is no definitive timetable, it's optimistic Miguel could be ready close to opening day."

And that's what Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski was hoping to hear.

"Very positive," he said. "I spoke to Miguel and he felt very positive about the news. He said he's been feeling good. He said he continues to feel better and better."

It is unclear exactly when Cabrera will report to spring training, though. He has to start a treadmill running program which will slowly build the foot up to full weight-bearing capability. He will remain in Miami for at least another week, Dombrowski said.

"There is an advanced kind of treadmill that's very good for this type of program — it's the same as the one (shortstop) Jose Iglesias used, called the AlterG," Dombrowski said. "There are very few of them in the country and one of them is in Miami and he can begin using that."

Dombrowski said the Tigers are in the process of trying to acquire an AlterG treadmill for the facility in Lakeland. He said he wasn't sure how soon that could be arranged.

"The thing with Miguel, regardless of injury, he wants to be in the lineup and play," Dombrowski said. "We have to say, 'Hold on, let's make sure we are doing what the doctor says we should be doing.' "

The surgery, performed Oct. 24, repaired bone spurs and a stress fracture.

Designated hitter Victor Martinez, who is expected to be out at least another five weeks after surgery to repair a torn meniscus, is doing his rehabilitation work in Orlando. There is no set time for him to report to Lakeland.

"We told him to stay," Dombrowski said. "He is on a good program there. … When you have hitters like Miguel and Victor, guys who've been around as long as they have, their batting stroke can come back very quickly. We all know that spring training, a full spring training, is mostly for pitchers."

Manager Brad Ausmus was scheduled to arrive here Wednesday night. He and Dombrowski will discuss plans for first base and designated hitter — but those will be short-term plans.

"They won't be missing much of the season, if any of it," Dombrowski said.

For the first part of camp, Aaron Westlake and Jordan Lennerton will get most of the reps at first base. Catcher Alex Avila had a first baseman's mitt in his locker, too. He said he plans to take some ground balls but doesn't expect to be playing much first base.