Minneapolis — It hit the proverbial fan for Miguel Cabrera Friday morning in Cleveland.
After another tough loss, he woke up to reports that manager Brad Ausmus would be fired at the end of the season.
“We’re over there and see what’s in the paper and some fan comes to you, ‘Oh, the manager’s fired. Oh, you guys (stink),’ ” Cabrera said. “Man, it’s kind of like, damn, this is not happening right now. It’s kind of hard to go to the stadium when some fan in. ... Cleveland tells you that.
“It gets you right here (heart) and right here (head).”
General manager Al Avila quickly refuted those reports, saying no decision had been made regarding Ausmus’ future, that the evaluation process was ongoing and would be through to the end of the season.
Ian Kinsler, Alex Avila, Victor Martinez, Nick Castellanos and other players have since come out in support of Ausmus.
“A lot of people are frustrated because we aren’t where we want to be,” Castellanos said Wednesday on his weekly radio interview on 105.1. “Do I think it’s Brad’s fault? No. I think he’s done a good job managing and putting people in the best position to succeed. It just hasn’t exactly worked out.
“It’s just when you are in last place, they always need someone to blame and a lot of times it’s the manager.”
Cabrera is right there with them. In fact, he takes the criticism of Ausmus personally.
“A lot, because it’s not his fault,” Cabrera said. “So why are you going to blame a guy like that? Why do people say you’ve got to fire him? We got a lot of injuries this year. We didn’t come together this year. I think that’s one of the big reasons.”
Joe Nathan, Justin Verlander, Martinez, Cabrera, Avila and Anibal Sanchez missed long stretches of the season.
“I always say, man, if we’re healthy, we can push harder,” Cabrera said. “But this year, we got a lot of key players out for one month, two months. With that, there’s no way you’re going to win, because we need everybody here.
“It’s not about one player. We’ve got a lot of guys here with big numbers and we don’t go anywhere. It’s not about numbers or stats. It’s about winning games.”
The clubhouse was rocked again at the trade deadline when, with the team 3-1/2 games out of a wild-card spot, then-general manager Dave Dombrowski went into seller mode, trading away David Price, Yoenis Cespedes and Joakim Soria.
“I think if we were healthy, I think we’d be in the race right now,” Cabrera said. “I don’t know if we could be in the playoffs or first place, but I think we could be in good shape to make a run. With these three guys we traded, I think we’d have a good chance if we were together.
“But it was a hard decision. They made some trades, and we don’t have anything to think about.”
Cabrera said he is happy that Cespedes, Soria and Price are in the thick of the playoff race, but he can’t help being a little wistful about it.
“You have to be happy for them,” he said. “That’s the guys you’ve got to want to see here if we were in the race, if we were in the playoff race. You’ve got to think how fun it is with these two guys, if this team’s together, how good we can be. It’s a big difference.”