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Leyland talks to Cabrera about media availability

DETROIT -- On Sunday, Miguel Cabrera cited family in town as the reason behind his much-chronicled exit from the Tigers clubhouse soon after Game 3 Saturday night, before the clubhouse was open to the media for interviews.

Shortly before that, manager Jim Leyland had a talk with his star slugger about availability to media before the Tigers took batting practice Sunday afternoon in preparation for Game 4.

The issue became a story in the wake of the Tigers' second straight shutout loss to the Giants, putting a lot of attention on a star-studded lineup. As the Triple Crown winner, Cabrera was the center of attention, along with Prince Fielder.

When reporters got to his clubhouse locker on Saturday night, Cabrera had already packed up and left. Fielder talked for several minutes.

It was the second time this postseason Cabrera has been scrutinized for media availability. He had an audible exchange in Spanish in the clubhouse in Oakland after Game 4 of the American League Division Series with Octavio Dotel, who told him he needed to reflect no sign of panic on the team after a 2-0 series lead had become a 2-2 tie.

For what it's worth, Cabrera was generally good about making himself available after most games during the regular season.

"I think you're not going to get the benefit of the doubt when you're on a national stage like this," Leyland said earlier Sunday, "and that's one thing that at some point I'll talk to him. But I'm also going to say this, and I'm not defending anything, I'm just making a point: As a manager you have to be careful. I will deal with the situation and check into it, because you have to be there through the good and the bad. You can't be on this podium only when you win. When we're 0-3, I've got to be up here and I'm not the happiest camper in the world. However, you have a responsibility.

"On the other side of that coin, families are here, mothers are here, young kids are here. I don't know that somebody might have been sick, I don't know that something wasn't right in the family, he had to get out."

Cabrera's wife and kids are in town for the World Series, as are his parents. They were with him Saturday before Game 3, when he was honored with the AL's Hank Aaron Award for the top offensive performer.

"I've got a lot of family here," Cabrera said Sunday during batting practice. "I [had] to go home."