CLOSE

Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera switched to Clinton Twp on Wednesday afternoon.

Detroit Free Press

Detroit Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire didn’t want anyone to worry. For a player, starting the season by 2 to 22 is not a big deal.

“It’s just one of those things,” Gardenhire said before Thursday’s game. “He’ll find his swing there, he’ll make some holes. Once he does, he’ll run.”

He was referring to Miguel Cabrera, Triple Crown winner, two-time American League MVP and 11-time All-Star.

And I didn’t really need to find “some holes” on the web Kansas City Impressive change of field of six men of the Royals.

[ Tigers observations: Two Cabrera homers not enough in 5-3 loss to Royals ]

He hit the ball all over the world, twice.

Despite Cabrera’s two outings and another from second baseman Jonathan Schoop, the Tigers fell, 5-3, to split the four-game series and fall to 4-3 overall.

“I worry about a lot of things,” Gardenhire said after the defeat. “I don’t care about him.”

But Cabrera, 37, was starting to worry a bit, according to Ivan Nova, a right-handed pitcher. After all, he came in at the end of the series, with 10% of the season already in the books, and hit .091 with a homer and two RBIs.

Nova recalled a conversation with Cabrera on Wednesday after he went 0-4 with a strike.

“I don’t know,” Cabrera told Nova. “I feel good, but I’m not hitting the ball the way I want.”

“It’s better than the day before, so you’ll keep progressing,” Nova replied, “and the ball will start bouncing off the bat.”

[ From Wednesday night: This is perfect team for Casey Mize, other prospects ]

On Thursday, Cabrera recorded the 40th multi-homer game of his career and first since Sept. 30, 2016. The first home game of the game was against 23-year-old Brady Singer, who left a slider in the area. Cabrera led it 356 feet from the opposite path to tie the game at 1-1 in the first inning.

In the eighth game, reliever Ian Kennedy went to his breaking ball after two quick balls. The 78 mph playing field was what Cabrera wanted, and he crushed it in a line at the Tigers ’mouth on the left.

“It was really good to see,” catcher Austin Romine said. “He put in a couple of balls, went to stop and took one out.”

Although the Tigers lost, Cabrera went off the field with an average of .154, three scorers and four RBIs in the season – much more encouraging than a few hours earlier, especially with a 60-game program.

“He was a little older or whatever, but the boy is still hungry,” said Nova, who threw five ball innings twice with three out kicks. “He knows what he has to do out there.”

[ Tigers’ Cabrera shows up slimmer, which could mean big things this season ]

Before Nova reached the Tigers this offseason, she spent seven years with the New York Yankees (2010-16), three with the Pittsburgh Pirates (2016-18) and one with the Chicago White Sox (2019), with 237 appearances, including 32 of the appearances on the Cabrera plate. The Tigers attack has a .259 / .375 / .444 run line against Nova, including a home run and four RBIs.

Nova was released to AL for Cabrera MVP and Triple Crown efforts in 2012, as well as her repeat MVP season in 2013.

But since then, Nova has also seen injuries. He understands that Cabrera hasn’t played the all-star game since 2016. He knows that one of the best right-wing strikers of his generation won’t be able to put numbers like he did in the late 1920s.

“But he’s so smart,” Nova said. “He knows what to do and doesn’t try to do too much.

“You don’t need a guy, that’s the first one. It’s up to us all to do our part, but when you have a guy like Miggy, you always want him to step on the box and be the guy to lead us.”

It looks like Cabrera is ready to do it.

Maybin and IL

The Tigers placed cameraman Cameron Maybin’s player on the injured list Thursday after the veteran struggled his quad in throwing a single in the ninth inning of Thursday’s injury.

The 33-year-old hit .214 in 14 bats this season. This season is his third stint with the Tigers: he was the team’s top scorer in 2005 and finished quoting the Marlins in the 2007 low-season deal that brought Cabrera to the Tigers – after signing a deal ‘a year in the low season.

Evan Petzold is a sports news intern at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

Free primary press guide

The free press asked candidates to raise and lower the ballot for their positions on various topics. Enter your address to see what the candidates had to say in the August 4 vote. Because the districts in which these candidates operate can be very specific, you will only enter the exact ballot if you enter your full address. If you do not enter one, your data, address and email address will not be shared.