Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Cabrera apologizes to teammates
ESPN.com news services
MINNEAPOLIS -- Detroit star Miguel Cabrera apologized to his teammates for being drunk last weekend while the Tigers were trying to clinch the AL Central title, then delivered two big hits in Tuesday's tiebreaker against Minnesota.
The slumping Cabrera had a double his first time up, then hit a two-run homer that put the Tigers ahead 3-0 in the third inning.
But it wasn't quite enough. He had two groundouts and a walk the rest of the way and was thrown out at home plate by Twins second baseman Nick Punto in the 12th inning of Detroit's 6-5 loss that gave Minnesota the division championship.
"He made a great play," Cabrera said. "If he doesn't make a good throw, I'm safe, no problem. I don't know what to say right now."
Before batting practice, Cabrera told reporters he was sorry for his actions and the stress he caused the organization. He insisted the alcohol consumption -- between two games the Tigers lost -- didn't negatively affect his performance.
"No, no, no. I was good. I was focused," Cabrera said.
Cabrera went 0 for 4 and stranded six runners in a 5-1 loss to Chicago on Saturday.
James C. Fell, the Director for Traffic Safety and Enforcement Programs of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, in Calverton, Md., told ESPN.com's Buster Olney on Tuesday a person requires many hours to process alcohol.
The 26-year-old Cabrera registered a 0.26 blood alcohol content, more than three times above Michigan's legal driving limit. The average person metabolizes alcohol at about the rate of .015 per hour, Fell said in a phone interview. An experienced drinker would metabolize alcohol at about .020 per hour. That means that "the standard person" would have required more than 17 hours to metabolize alcohol that had reached 0.26. An experienced drinker would have required 13 hours to metabolize alcohol at that level, Fell said.
Police answered a 911 call from Cabrera's home at about 6 a.m. last Saturday. Dave Dombrowski picked him up at a police station following a fight with his wife -- apparently over his late arrival from a night out -- about 12 hours before the Tigers' game at 7 p.m.
Police said Cabrera's wife, Rosangel, was the person who called 911. Both of them had marks on their faces when officers arrived, but they were minor and no charges were filed.
Cabrera, who's hitting .323 with 33 home runs and 101 RBIs this year, is in the second season of an eight-year, $152.3 million contract. He went 0 for 11 over the weekend while the Tigers lost two out of three games to the White Sox -- and was hitless in his last 14 at-bats overall -- letting the Twins catch them in the standings.
"I want to focus on the game right now," Cabrera said, sitting solemnly in front his cubicle in the visitor's locker room at the Metrodome on Tuesday afternoon. There was a bruise and a scratch still visible on his face, but they were faded.
Cabrera said he learned a lesson from the situation and insisted he was able to fully focus on baseball and not this off-the-field problem.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland refused to take any questions about Cabrera's situation, accusing media of "going for the gossip" by talking to Cabrera before the game and missing the beginning of his briefing.
"If you want to talk about today's game, we'll talk about today's game," Leyland said. "If you're talking about anything else, I'm walking right through that door, and I'm leaving."
Senior writer Buster Olney covers MLB for ESPN The Magazine. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.