While the two big pieces at the end of the pen received most of the ink, the Tigers turned up a diamond in a young man with big name and even bigger slider. Al Alburquerque emerged as a swing and miss reliever that calmed many threats with his electric stuff.
Alburquerque was called up from Toledo on April 14th last season and proceeded to put up all star numbers. He struck out six of the nine batters he faced in a memorable outing in Cleveland and was off and running after that. Stranding 90% of his inherited runners, Alburquerque gave Jim Leyland an unexpected weapon in his bullpen.
Forearm inflammation and a concussion however derailed what was destined to be a special season. Elbow surgery in December has many wondering when he will be able to pitch in 2012. Alburquerque will be reevaluated tomorrow by doctors to determine if he can resume throwing. To this point, all he has been able to do is work on his conditioning. Tomorrow will be a big day for Al if he hopes to be able to rejoin the Tigers at some point after the all star break.
Tomorrow is also a big day for Miguel Cabrera. The Tigers third baseman was in the clubhouse today, showing the signs of someone who is very bored and desperately wants to return to the field.
“I’ve been resting, doing nothing,” he said.
If cleared by doctors tomorrow, Cabrera should be ready to resume baseball activities, which would put him on track to be in the lineup opening day. Asked if he would be ready for the season opener against Boston if cleared, Cabrera said, “I’ll be ready. Don’t worry.”
Cabrera was asked if he has looked at replays of the play and he said he had, many times. Why?
“I wanted to see if I did anything wrong,” he said.
I’m not sure if the outcome would have been any different with any other third baseman.