Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera will start at first base on Opening Day

Detroit Free Press

LAKELAND, Fla. — Detroit Tigers manager AJ Hinch has announced Miguel Cabrera, entering his 19th campaign in the majors, as his Opening Day first baseman. The Tigers begin the season Thursday against the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park.

The memorable day of baseball will also be Cabrera’s first regular-season contest at first base since June 18, 2019. The 37-year-old spent 2020 as the Tigers’ full-time designated hitter, because of a chronic right knee problem, and is eager to return to his old position.

“I think he gives us the best chance to win at first base,” Hinch said Tuesday.

CLOCK TICKING: Jake Rogers, finding solace and chasing his goal of being ‘the guy’

PROSPECTS: Where do prospects from Justin Verlander trade fit in Tigers’ future?

This spring, Cabrera played six of his 16 games at first base — the other 10 he was the designated hitter. That rate would equate to roughly 60 games at first base in the regular season.

Hinch has previously committed to penciling Cabrera in at first base once or twice per week. Cabrera said in late February: “I feel like I did back when I was in 2014. I feel more like when I was healthy.”

He went 9-for-40 (.225) with one double, two home runs, eight RBIs, one walk and 11 strikeouts in camp.


Why Miguel Cabrera’s goals with 2021 Tigers stretch beyond reaching 500 home runs

Miguel Cabrera is ‘arguably best first baseman’ for Tigers. Here’s what this means

Miguel Cabrera’s chase of history is something we haven’t seen often in Detroit

Cabrera’s primary focus, Hinch said, was “overcompensating” in an attempt to drive the ball to the right side of the field — the opposite way where he stands in the batter’s box. He wanted to make sure he didn’t get into bad habits of only pulling the ball to left field

On Monday, Cabrera hit an opposite-field three-run homer against New York Yankees reliever Chad Green. The ball traveled 354 feet at a speed of 104.8 mph off the bat.

“He knows that he can dial it up when the season starts if he’s going to hunt fastballs in,” Hinch said. “What you can’t do is pull the ball for three or four weeks and then expect to track balls deep in the zone as the season gets closer. I like where he’s at.”

EX-ASTRO TALKS HINCH: Why Tigers’ AJ Hinch has made ‘versatility’ the name of the game

Last season, Cabrera hit .250, the lowest season batting average of his career. But he paced the team in home runs (10) and RBIs (35) across 57 games. He hit .282 with 12 home runs and 59 RBIs across 136 games in 2019.

Cabrera has played 1,151 career games at first base.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

Articles You May Like

Whitecaps hold off Great Lakes on a quiet night for the farm system
MLBTR Podcast: Free Agent Power Rankings, Ohtani’s Stolen Money And The A’s Moving To Sacramento
Tigers 7, Rays 1: Skubal and company rock the Trop
Tigers Minor League Report podcast with Brandon Day: Max Clark and Luke Gold lead the week’s top performers
Tigers 4, Rangers 5: So close to a comeback

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *