Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Revisiting the Tigers and Royals

Miguel Cabrera was bleeding profusely after
behind hit by a ground ball. It apparently looks
worse than it actually was.
On the past three Saturdays I've reviewed the offseasons and outlook for three divisional rivals of the Twins. (The fourth will publish this coming Saturday.)

Already two of those, the Royals and Tigers, need to be revisited.

One of the more intriguing moves of the offseason was Detroit's decision to move Miguel Cabrera to third base to make room at first for Prince Fielder. On Monday Cabrera took a bad hop off the face; on Tuesday the Tigers said he had a non-displaced fracture of the orbital bone under his right eye. They say his vision is fine, and he'll be rechecked in a week after the swelling has gone down.

We can assume that the Tigers and Cabrera figured they'd lose some runs on defense by playing him there. They probably didn't figure that he was going to be exposed to injury.

The chatter at Tigers camp Tuesday was that the sunglasses he was wearing at the time were responsible for the bloody cut but probably protected his eye from the ball; Detroit GM David Dombrowski said the ball's laces left an imprint on the lens.

For what it's worth, Jim Leyland says nobody was going to handle that hop and that Cabrera's drawbacks at the position had nothing to do with the mishap. He may be right. But it will be interesting to see if Cabrera flinches on hard-hit balls whenever he gets back on the field, which probably won't come much before Opening Day at the earliest.

Kansas City's closer, Joakim Soria, has ligament damage in his right elbow and may require Tommy John surgery. It would be Soria's second such operation. Among the fallout: Aaron Crow is to remain in the bullpen, although he doesn't figure to take Soria's closing role.

The Royals have also lost catcher Salvador Perez to knee surgery for about the first two months.

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