'It's progressing': Healing process is slow, but Cabrera says he's on pace for 2019

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Detroit — Miguel Cabrera strolled into the Brushfire Grill on the concourse at Comerica Park Monday, leather ball cap, sports coat, looking pretty good considering he’s been on the disabled list and unable to do much physical activity, especially upper body work, since June 13.

“I don’t know, man,” he chuckled when told he was looking good. “It’s hard to keep my weight down now. Hope I can be in shape next year. Hope I can be with the team every day. I am just trying to get back on the field.”

It’s killing him, you know it is. From 2004-2017, Cabrera averaged 153 games a season. His 2018 season was ended by a torn left biceps muscle after 38 games. He’s never been away from the game for this long within a season.

“It’s really hard,” he said. “It’s really hard watching the games on television. Really hard not being on the field with my teammates. It doesn’t matter if we’re winning or losing. I want to be part of this process. But right now, I have to keep my focus on getting back here next year and being healthy and able to help the team.”

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Since the surgery, he has been doing physical therapy in Ann Arbor and he’s also bouncing back and forth between Detroit and Miami. He’s stopped by the clubhouse a couple of times, but, as much as he misses his teammates, it’s too hard.

“The last time I came in there, it was very sad,” he said. “There’s really nothing for me to do. I don’t know what I am going to do. But I want to be here to support the guys.”

The healing process, Cabrera said, has been slow, but purposely so. It’s not just the biceps that he’s rebuilding. Over the past few seasons, he’s battled back, hip and leg ailments — playing through an incredible amount of pain. So, methodically, Cabrera is undergoing an almost full-body rehabilitation.

“Things are progressing good,” he said. “It’s going to take time. I know I have to give some time to healing. The most important thing is, I’ve been feeling good and I hope I can be 100 percent again. Right now it’s a little slow.

“Hopefully in a couple of weeks, I will be able to start doing more things.”

The goal remains the same — be fully ready to play by the start of spring training next year.

“I think so,” Cabrera said when asked if he felt things were still on pace. “I hope everything is going the right way and I won’t have any more hard times. I don’t want to step back again. I want to be healthy.”

Cabrera was back at Comerica Park to host his 10th annual “Keeping Kids in the Game” event, which is sponsored by Delta Airlines and is the signature fund-raising event of the Detroit Tigers Foundation. Proceeds support children’s health through Children’s Hospital of Michigan and C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, and youth baseball programs.

“This is very important for me and my family,” Cabrera said. “It’s not only about baseball here, it’s about helping people. We can give back a lot more when we do this. And it’s not something we have to do. It’s something I feel inside — we love to do this.”

Cabrera was asked what he thought of how the team was holding up in his absence and he waved off the question.

“No, it’s hard for me to say an opinion when I am not on the field with those guys,” he said. “You sit back and watch it on TV and it looks so easy. Everything looks so slow. But I know it’s not like that. So it would be wrong for me to say something

“I’m trying to stay focused on the rehab and the therapy and making sure I can be healthy and back on the field again next year.”




On deck: Reds

Series: Two-game series at Comerica Park

First pitch: Tuesday – 7:10 p.m., Wednesday – 1:10 p.m.

TV/radio: Tuesday-Wednesday — FSD, 97.1.

Probables: Tuesday – RHP Homer Bailey (1-7, 6.29) vs. LHP Matthew Boyd (5-9, 4.53); Wednesday – RHP Sal Romano (6-8, 5.04) vs. RHP Mike Fiers (7-6, 3.54).

Bailey, Reds: This will be the second start for the veteran since he came off the disabled list (knee). He allowed two runs in 6⅔ innings against the Cardinals in his first start. Before the injury, he was scuffling (5.84 FIP and 1.631 WHIP).

Boyd, Tigers: Boyd was victimized by a wall-scraping grand slam home run by Joey Votto when he faced the Reds at the Great American bandbox in Cincinnati. Boyd has been strong in his last two starts, allowing three runs in 11 innings with 13 strikeouts.