The transition for Miguel Cabrera to move from playing first base in 2011 to third base in 2012 is not off to a great start. The move was facilitated by the Detroit Tigers signing of Prince Fielder in the offseason to a 9-year, $214 million contract. Fielder is suited to be a first baseman, or a DH (just like Cabrera), but apparently the Tigers are refusing to play Fielder or Cabrera at DH.
Cabrera came into the MLB with the Florida Marlins as a third baseman, but that was 5 years and about 60 pounds ago. Now, to the chagrin of ground ball pitchers Max Scherzer and Doug Fister, Cabrera is working again to adjust to manning the hot corner once again.
This endeavor took a small step backwards yesterday on this play:
In his defense, this ground ball off the bat of the Philadelphia Phillies‘ Hunter Pence appeared to take a pretty wicked hop right at the end. However, Cabrera didn’t do himself any favors by not charging the ball and trying to sidestep it instead of squaring up and fielding it in front of him.
The factor that made this play even worse was that Cabrera took the hit directly on the sunglasses, which cut into his face. The result was not pretty:
- AP Photo
Cabrera was removed from the game and taken to the hospital for stitches and precautionary x-rays.
[UPDATE] According to multiple sources, the x-rays came back revealing a fracture in the orbital bone beneath Cabrera’s right eye.
If this were not a Spring Training game, perhaps Cabrera would have tried to stay in the game, a la Nolan Ryan after his infamous fight with Robin Ventura. This, of course, conjures up images of my favorite baseball card of all time:
This single photo enforces that Nolan Ryan was a bad, bad man of the highest order. A title that Cabrera has yet to achieve, but it appears that given a full year of playing third base, he may have every opportunity to attain.