"I appreciated all that, what they did to me," Cabrera said. "I'm comfortable with these guys. I love these guys. They've always been good to me, so now I've got to do a lot of good things for them. Right now I'm going to prepare very hard and get ready to win games."
Cabrera, who was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving Feb. 16, did not play in the Tigers' 17-5 win over Florida Southern College on Friday. Cabrera did some hitting and fielding drills but wasn't available for the game and is not expected to travel to Dunedin, Fla., for Detroit's Grapefruit League opener Saturday against the Toronto Blue Jays.
It isn't known when manager Jim Leyland will put Cabrera into the lineup and Leyland has dodged most questions about Cabrera. He did say that he expected Cabrera to be in the lineup when the Tigers open the regular season in New York on March 31.
When the slugger who finished second in the AL MVP voting last year after hitting .328 with 38 homers and 126 RBIs spoke with the media Friday he spoke about his weight, not his pending arraignment on March 16.
"I feel good. Everybody worries about my weight and what I do during the offseason, but right now I feel good," Cabrera said. "I'm not worried about being overweight. I worked hard in the offseason so right now I'm just worried about baseball and getting ready for the season."
"If we're healthy, we're going to be very good, very dangerous," Cabrera said. "If our pitchers, our staff, can be healthy, I think we've got a good chance to win. We've got to go out there and compete. All day I saw a lot of good things, so the most important thing is to compete."
The Tigers scored in every inning except the eighth against Florida Southern, a Division II team based in Lakeland, and led 5-0 after three innings.
Top prospects Andrew Oliver and Jacob Turner both pitched two scoreless innings and Daniel Schlereth, Ryan Perry and Enrique Gonzalez combined for four more before the Mocs scored five in the ninth.
"We didn't want to score that many runs," Leyland said. "We just couldn't help it."
Brennan Bosch, competing for the starting job in left field, hit a long three-run homer, and Audy Ciriaco added another for the Tigers.
NOTES: The win sent the Tigers record to 22-1-2 against FSC since the series began in 1979. The Tigers agreed to terms with INFs Scott Sizemore and Danny Werth, OFs Clete Thomas and Casper Wells on Thursday. Thirty-five players on the 40-man roster are under terms. Phil Coke, who is making the transition from setup man to starter will start for the Tigers against the Blue Jays on Saturday, followed by Duane Below, Alberto Albuquerque, Brad Thomas, and Robbie Weinhardt. Toronto will use Brett Cecil, Scott Richmond, David Purcey, Will Ledezma, Jesse Carlson, Mike Hinkley, and Luis Perez.