Published March 26, 2012
LAKELAND, Fla. – Injured Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera is certain he'll be in the lineup on opening day.
Cabrera rejoined his teammates Monday, a week after a bad-hop grounder in an exhibition game broke a bone below his right eye.
"I'll be ready for opening day," said the star slugger, still with some discloring beneath his eye. "Don't worry. I'll be fine. There's no pain and my vision is fine."
The Tigers open the season on April 5 at home against Boston.
Cabrera hit a major league-leading .344 last season with 30 home runs and 105 RBIs for the AL Central champions.
The sharp shot by Philadelphia's Hunter Pence left Cabrera with a bloody gash that took eight stitches to close.
Detroit moved its best hitter across the diamond this year to make room for new first baseman Prince Fielder. Cabrera last played third base in 2008, making 14 starts for the Tigers. He was the Marlins' full-time third baseman in 2006 and 2007 and was somewhat shaky at the position.
Cabrera said he has looked at the replay of the Pence ball quite often since the injury a week ago Monday.
"It taught me about my positioning," he said.
Cabrera will be examined Tuesday to see if he's OK. Tigers manager Jim Leyland has said he'll put Cabrera in the lineup two days after he's cleared by medical personnel.
Once Cabrera is deemed all right, he would take batting practice his first day back and be in the lineup the next.