Milestone mashes cause Miguel Cabrera pause

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Detroit – All this talk of milestones is making Miguel Cabrera a little nervous.

"Time goes quick," he said Thursday after bashing career home runs Nos. 397 and 398. "I feel like my first year was last year. Sometimes I'm scared because I don't want to stop playing baseball, you know? I just want to stop (aging) right here.

"I'm 32. Stop! And keep playing. Time goes too fast, man."

With one more home run, Cabrera will tie Andres Galarraga as the home run king from the country of Venezuela. But that's not the baseball he wants in his trophy case. No. 400, that's the one.

"Yeah, 400, that's special," he said.

Asked why it was special, he got an incredulous look on his face.

"What do you think? It's a lot of home runs," he said. "I never expected to hit home runs like that."

Still, he knows No. 399 will be special for the people of Venezuela.

"I know it's going to be big in Venezuela," he said. "Everybody is going to feel proud of that. There's going to be a lot of excitement over there. But I have to stay focused on what I can do right here.

"We've got one goal here, to go to the playoffs again. I can hit another home run and tie Galarraga, pass Galarraga, but I need to do what I need to do to get ready for the game."

Cabrera grew up, a skinny shortstop signed by the Marlins, watching Galarraga, never thinking he could be a power hitter like that.

"At that point, I never said I'm going to do that because he had so much power," Cabrera said. "You can't do the same thing, what he did, because he hit a lot of home runs with power, like 450-, 500-foot home runs.

"You don't want to say I'm going to be better than him. My home runs are pretty nice, but 400. When he used to hit a ball, he'd hit the ball like 450 to 500. Obviously he's got more power than me."

Play of the game

You wouldn't think, in a game the Tigers won 13-1, that a double-play ball in the first inning would be such a big deal. But this one was special.

Starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez, still searching for his rhythm and coming off a rocky start against the Royals, gave up a leadoff single to Brian Dozier. Kurt Suzuki followed with a grounder up the middle, which looked like another hit.

But shortstop Jose Iglesias, like maybe only he can, got to the ball, swiped it with his glove to Ian Kinsler at second. Kinsler bare-handed the ball and threw to Cabrera, who made a nice scoop to complete the double play.

"That helped me a lot," said Sanchez. "That was the play of the game."

Iglesias, as often is the case, was not overly impressed with his own powers.

"It's not something you're looking for. It's just something you react to it," he said. "That's the only way something's going to get done. And a beautiful turn by Kinsler, as well. And a nice pick by Miggy at first. So everything went well, and we got a good start."

Holaday's debut

In his 2015 debut, catcher Bryan Holaday had a single, double and his first home run since August of 2013.

"This was better than I drew up," he said with a smile.

Holaday was the Tigers back-up catcher all of last season and he didn't make the club out of spring training, largely because of the emergence of James McCann. He was called up Saturday after Alex Avila was placed on the DL.

"It's been a good journey," he said. "It's been a learning opportunity. I got an opportunity to play a lot of baseball and work on some things and get better. I am happy to be back."

Holaday said the best part of his day was the 13-1 victory and all the happy faces in clubhouse.

"Anytime you win like that and the whole team joins the party, it's a great win," he said.

Around the horn

Designated hitter Victor Martinez is going to get some much-needed time off. With the Tigers playing in St. Louis over the weekend, Martinez will be available to pinch-hit only. Manager Brad Ausmus decided to give him Thursday off, too.

"Having a fourth day off certainly won't hurt," he said. Martinez has been struggling hitting from the left side.

… J.D. Martinez, whose back stiffened Wednesday night, was the designated hitter Thursday and got two singles. "I think it was probably bothering him a little bit today but like Victor has done, like Miggy did last year, we got a group of guys that will play through some pain," Ausmus said. "It just goes to show you that a guy like JD, even if he's at 85 percent, can contribute and help the team win."

… Ausmus said Justin Verlander was scheduled to throw a 35-pitch bullpen in St. Louis Friday. Bruce Rondon is also supposed to throw a bullpen, but he is not traveling to St. Louis with the team. Ausmus wasn't sure where Rondon would throw his bullpen, and neither was Rondon.

… Joba Chamberlain showed up at the ballpark a little lighter Thursday — like four runs lighter. MLB reviewed a scoring play that occurred during Chamberlain's eight-inning collapse against the White Sox May 6. All four of the runs that were scored that inning are now unearned. Nick Castellanos has now been charged with an error on a two-out liner that he could not handle off the bat of Adam Eaton. It was originally scored a hit.

Chris McCosky on Twitter @cmccosky