DETROIT -- Miguel Cabrera finally moved to designated hitter for Friday's series opener against the Royals. But it was only for a day. It was only the third game for Cabrera at DH this season.
For the Tigers first baseman, who moved to third base in Spring Training for the first time in five years, that's a far better ratio than many would have expected. It's the ratio of an everyday third baseman.
On Friday, though, it was a third baseman getting a night off his feet until his spot in the order comes up.
Cabrera leads all American League third basemen in games, innings and starts at the hot corner. His .766 zone rating ranks fifth in the group, according to STATS, while his 2.58 Range Factor (putouts plus assists per nine innings) and .962 fielding percentage ranked third.
The move was manager Jim Leyland's idea to give Cabrera a rest. The skipper offered to do the same with first baseman Prince Fielder on Thursday, but Fielder declined, saying he'd rather stay in the field.
Prince chooses his pitcher for HR Derby
DETROIT -- Prince Fielder is headed back to the State Farm Home Run Derby in a new uniform, but he'll be seeing pitches from a familiar face. Fielder said he'll have longtime Brewers organizational coach Sandy Guerrero throw him pitches for Monday night's event at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
Guerrero worked with Fielder during his early days in the Brewers organization. He was the hitting coach at Double-A Huntsville for six years, including Fielder's season there in 2004, before moving up to Triple-A Nashville. He's now the Brewers' Minor League hitting coordinator.
It's a little more than a good luck charm, he insists. Guerrero threw to him in the 2009 Derby, which he won in St. Louis, and in last year's contest in Phoenix. More important, Fielder said, is the comfort level and the experience.
It's a little more important than it would seem.
"I just had him all the other times," Fielder said. "In those situations, you want the guy you know, because it's not easy to do that. You can have the greatest BP pitcher of all time, but it's just weird with no cage."
That's one reason why it's much different than a typical batting practice. Another is the approach.
"You're not working on anything," Fielder said. "You're not trying to make sure you work the opposite way. You're just trying to hit it as far as you can."
The State Farm Home Run Derby will be held on Monday at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Tigers aren't dwelling on three-way collision
DETROIT -- All parties involved in Thursday's three-player collision along the third-base line were OK on Friday. Manager Jim Leyland, meanwhile, wasn't dwelling on it.
If it was a play in which nobody communicated and everybody looked at each other as the ball fell, it would be one thing. This, Leyland said, was the opposite.
"You tell your players to be aggressive, and every one of them was aggressive," Leyland said. "You can't fault anybody for that. ...
"You don't like it to happen, but when people are aggressive, that's what can happen. You see in the outfield once in a while, a ball in between guys and they're both going after it. Sometimes you can't hear because of the crowd, and you have disaster once in a while. But I don't have any problem when people are hustling. That's pretty hard to scold guys when they're being aggressive.
"If it's a high fly on the infield, that's a little different. Somebody should be able to call out three times, which is what we work on in Spring Training, to make the play. But one like that is a little bit tougher."
In this case, it was a popped-up bunt that catcher Gerald Laird, pitcher Rick Porcello and first baseman Prince Fielder all chased. The ball popped out of Porcello's glove on impact, and Laird took an elbow from Fielder.
"That's entirely my fault," Porcello said following Thursday's 7-3 win over the Twins. "I've got to get out of the way there."
Tigers providing tickets for Autism Awareness
DETROIT -- The Tigers and Major League Baseball are working with Jack's Place for Autism Foundation to provide a chance for children and adults with autism to take in a game in a friendly, safe environment.
On Sunday, 500 children and adults with autism, along with family, friends and caregivers, will attend Sunday's game against the Royals in the Tigers' eighth annual Autism Awareness Day. Tickets were donated by MLB and the Players Give Back program.
It's a welcome day for people and families affected by autism. According to recent statistics, one in 88 children will be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder this year, with boys affected at five times the rate of girls, making it the fastest-growing developmental disability.
For many of those kids, it's not easy to take in a baseball game at a Major League park, whether from noise or activity or attention.
"This day is monumental for many of our families, they get to enjoy a baseball game with families facing similar challenges, in a safe non-judgmental environment" says Lisa Price, president of Jack's Place for Autism Foundation and wife of Tigers broadcaster Jim Price.
"Not only will this day result in a fantastic experience for the families affected by ASD, but it will promote awareness in the community of the challenges faced by these individuals, and highlight the need for acceptance -- not tolerance -- of any person living with a disability."