Detroit Tigers star Miguel Cabrera hasn’t been a picture of good health over the past few years, but he’s always made every possible effort to remain on the field.
That won’t be the case anymore after the 16-year veteran told the Detroit media “I’m done playing hurt” in response to fan criticism that he says lacks appreciation for his past efforts to play through injuries.
“I went through that last year, so I don’t want to do the same thing,” Cabrera said of playing hurt. “Nobody appreciates you when you play hurt, so I’m going to take my time and play when I’m good. I played hurt a lot of years here in Detroit. They don’t appreciate that. When you are doing bad, they crush you. They crush you. They say you’re bad, you should go home, you don’t deserve anything, you’re old. I say, ‘OK, I’m done playing hurt.’ Now I take my time.”
Cabrera attempted to play through two herniated discs in his back in 2017. He made it through 130 games, but didn’t produce anything close to the numbers fans expect from him. His .249/.329/.399 batting line marked his lowest output in all three categories over his first 15 seasons.
There were questions about whether Cabrera was doing himself and the team more harm than good by staying on the field. Cabrera didn’t appreciate the sentiment as he attempted to battle alongside his teammates.
“Nobody appreciates when you play hurt. I’m going to take my time and play when I am good. I played a lot of years hurt here in Detroit. They (fans) don’t appreciate that.
In addition to his back problems, Cabrera’s lists of ailments have included issues with his biceps, calf and groin. He was limited to 119 games in 2015, but battled back to play in 158 games in 2016.
The 35-year-old Cabrera was off to a good start this season, hitting .323/.407/.516 with three homers and 21 RBIs through 26 games. He’s currently battling a hamstring injury that landed him on the disabled list on May 4. He was eligible to be activated Monday, but the Detroit Free Press notes that Cabrera hasn’t yet been cleared for baseball activity.
The Tigers, who are surprisingly hanging around in the AL Central standings despite their 19-23 start, still need Cabrera. Despite that, it’s clear that Cabrera won’t be in a rush to return.
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