Tigers’ Akil Baddoo says Miguel Cabrera made a Rolex myth come true

Detroit News

Los Angeles — It was April 4, 2021, at Comerica Park.

Tigers outfielder Akil Baddoo was in the dugout getting ready to make his big-league debut. A Rule 5 draftee who hadn’t played much above A-ball and hadn’t played competitive ball at all since 2019, he was a combustible bundle of nerves and excitement.

And, of course, his teammates were having fun with him.

“They were saying if I hit a first-pitch home run (in his first big-league at-bat), the league will give you a Rolex,” Baddoo said before the game Monday. “I was like, ‘Are you sure?’ I thought that was a myth or something. They were like, if it is, just ask Miggy. If you actually hit a first-pitch homer, he’ll give you a Rolex.”

Baddoo put the chances of that being real just under the chances he’d hit the first pitch he saw in the big leagues out of the park.

You already know what happened. Baddoo, leading off the third inning, hit the first pitch he saw from then Cleveland right-hander Aaron Civale over the left-field wall.

There was no Rolex. At least not right away and Baddoo forgot about the ‘myth’. Until he showed up for spring training in February.

“Sure enough,” Baddoo said, smiling. “Miggy ended up getting me a Rolex. Pretty cool.”

These types of stories will keep trickling out as the days tick down toward the end of Miguel Cabrera’s illustrious career. After Monday, there are only 12 games left.

“We’re in here and it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is Miggy’s last road trip,” Baddoo said. “And me being a part of this, I don’t know how I’m going to react. Especially that last game, the last time he steps on the field.

“I’m sure it’s going to be emotional for him and his family. He says his body is so tired, but I know emotionally, stepping away is going to be super sad. He’s really enjoyed his career and part of him is ready for that moment to come. But once it comes, I think it’s all going to hit him all at once.”

Hollywood nights

Remember that plan to play Javier Báez more sporadically down the stretch? It’s on hold these next three days.

“Javy has history here,” manager AJ Hinch said. “Anytime you go into a ballpark where you have history, it’s a lot of fun.”

Báez hit .318 with a .500 slugging percentage with four doubles, helping the Cubs beat the Dodgers in the 2016 NLCS. Then he hit two homers against them in a losing cause the next year in the NLCS.

He’s done significant damage against them in the regular season, too. His slash-line in 39 games overall is .381/.363/.580 with a .944 OPS (10 doubles, a triple and nine home runs). In 21 games at Dodger Stadium, he’s slashed .301/.322/.566 with a .888 OPS (seven doubles, five homers).

“Big stage, good team,” Hinch said. “Certainly he’s played in much more important games in this stadium than this this September game. But I think he loves the limelight. He loves the event and the Hollywood feel that comes with playing at Dodger Stadium. And he usually responds well.

“So he’s in there all three games.”

Rare night off

The last time Spencer Torkelson had a full game off was June 28. He played in 147 of the Tigers’ first 149 games before Monday. Torkelson was not in the lineup, at first base or designated hitter.

Hinch said this game wasn’t necessarily a pre-planned day off for Torkelson.

“Just watching what I’m watching the last couple days,” Hinch said. “He’s deserved a day off long before today. I hate that it comes on the heels of a couple rough days for him. But he was going to get one on this road trip somewhere. I was going to read and react based on how he was doing.”

Torkelson was 3 for 19 with nine strikeouts over the last four games. He struck out seven times in the three games in Anaheim.

“If he was superhot, obviously, I wasn’t going to circle a day,” Hinch said. “But I think it was time. He can watch a game and take a breath.”

Around the horn

… The Tigers will deploy a bullpen game Tuesday in Game 2 against the Dodgers. The bulk reliever, Hinch said, could be Alex Faedo, Beau Brieske or Tyler Holton, depending how the game goes Monday. “I told our guys and the coaches, if we’re in a position to win the game (Monday), I’m not going to not use somebody just for the sake of tomorrow. We’ll manage accordingly.”

… Tigers pitchers struck out 42 hitters in the three games against the Angels over the weekend. That’s the second-most punch-outs in a three-game span in franchise history, second to 44 strikeouts in three games back in Sept. 23-25, 2013.


Twitter/X: @cmccosky

Tigers at Dodgers

When: 10:10 p.m., Tuesday, Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles

TV/radio: BSD/97.1

Scouting report

TBA, Tigers: Manager AJ Hinch is going to deploy a bullpen game. The opening pitcher will be predicated partly by his bullpen usage Monday. Right-hander Alex Faedo will likely pitch bulk innings.

TBA, Dodgers: The Dodgers have yet to name a starting pitcher.

Articles You May Like

Montero Strikes Out Nine in Win
Dodgers 3, Tigers 2: That’s what the best teams do
Each team’s prospect whose stock improved most in ’23
E-Rod (scapular spasm) uncertain to pitch again in ’23
Spencer Torkelson Is Taking Off

Leave a Reply

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