Detroit Tigers veteran Miguel Cabrera jawed at member of the Chicago White Sox before his third at-bat in Tuesday’s 5-2 win at Guaranteed Rate Field. He crushed a 445-foot home run in the first inning against Lucas Giolito to give his team a 1-0 lead.
The reason for his frustration? Cabrera said he believed the White Sox — specifically second baseman Nick Madrigal — were accusing the Tigers of stealing signs.
“It was the second baseman because he tried to tell the catcher and the pitcher we passed the sign,” Cabrera, 38, said. “I mean, come on, that’s some (expletive). I don’t play that game. You need to respect. You don’t need to show up me or somebody or the runner on second, trying to say we passed the sign from second. Come on, get the (expletive) out of here. That’s not right.”
(In the sixth inning, with Cabrera batting, Robbie Grossman was standing on second base.)
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Before coming to the Tigers, manager AJ Hinch was fired from his job as the Houston Astros manager and handed a season-long suspension from MLB in January 2020 for his role in his team’s sign-stealing scandal. The plot gave the Astros an unfair advantage en route to winning the 2017 World Series, and cheating wasn’t uncovered until 2019.
MLB investigated and ruled that Hinch didn’t do enough to stop the actions of bench coach Alex Cora and his players, including Carlos Beltran. They devised a scheme to steal signs with replay monitors, two of which Hinch smashed, and they banged on a trash can to cheat by signaling pitch types to the batters.
Hinch has been apologetic for what happened in 2017.
“That’s part of my story,” Hinch said during his October 30 introductory news conference. “It’s not the Tigers’ story.”
Cabrera isn’t sure if the White Sox allegedly accused the Tigers of sign stealing because of Hinch’s past situation. He was hired by the Tigers in late October, less than three days after the World Series ended, which marked the conclusion of his suspension.
“I don’t care why they’re doing it, but they need to stop because we don’t play that game,” Cabrera said. “So that’s why I said something to (Madrigal) right away. Everybody’s paranoid about all this stuff right now. They’re over the limit. They need to respect that.”
The 19-year MLB veteran felt worried that if he didn’t say something in response, the friction with the White Sox would carry over into the remainder the three-game series.
“If they say that, the next day, there’s going to be a hit-by-pitch or something like that, and we don’t play that game,” Cabrera said. “We respect the game.”
The Tigers (8-16) play the White Sox on Wednesday and Thursday before concluding a nine-game road trip with a pair of three-game slates against New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
Cabrera is 6-for-35 (.171) with one double, two home runs, five RBIs, five walks and nine strikeouts. He is 128 hits away from No. 3,000 and 11 homers away from No. 500.