DETROIT -- The sight of Jose Cabrera giving kids a hug on Monday night at his annual charity fundraiser was encouraging -- on multiple levels.Physically, Cabrera is feeling good, six weeks separated from season-ending surgery to repair a ruptured tendon in his left biceps."Right now it's a little slow," Cabrera
DETROIT -- The sight of Jose Cabrera giving kids a hug on Monday night at his annual charity fundraiser was encouraging -- on multiple levels.
Physically, Cabrera is feeling good, six weeks separated from season-ending surgery to repair a ruptured tendon in his left biceps.
"Right now it's a little slow," Cabrera said of his rehab process, which he's splitting between Michigan and his home in Miami. "Hopefully, in a couple weeks, I'll be starting to do some more stuff and try to be healthy [for next year]."
More important, Monday's appearance at his Keeping Kids in the Game event was more therapeutic for his heart than his arm. He has always enjoyed being around the young patients at the event, now in its 10th year. Guests who purchased tickets were treated to meet-and-greet sessions with players, plus live entertainment and dinner, and the Tigers also brought in more than 200 patients and family members from Children's Hospital of Michigan and C.S. Mott Children's Hospital and let the kids take the field, ride Comerica Park's famed Ferris wheel and enjoy an evening outside and away from a hospital bed.
Proceeds from the event go toward the Miguel Cabrera Foundation -- which has funded ballpark renovations in Detroit, Miami and his native Venezuela, in addition to providing scholarships for deserving kids -- and the Detroit Tigers Foundation, an affiliate of Ilitch Charities.
"It's very important to me and my family," Cabrera said. "It's not only about baseball here. It's about helping people. We can give back, and when we do this, it's nothing we have to do. We like to do this."
And to do this with his teammates, some of whom he hadn't seen in weeks, was just as important for Cabrera. As much as he has tried to follow the season from afar, he admits to falling into some of the same habits fans have tracking the season.
"The game is so easy when you watch the game on TV," he said. "Like, it's so slow, you have a chance to think too many things. To have an opinion of what's going on, I think it's wrong for me to say. The game's so simple on TV. It's easy to watch the game on TV."
Moreover, watching a game on television requires Cabrera to sit still. And with no game to provide an outlet, sitting still is not something he likes to do, which is one reason he shuttles back and forth between Miami and Michigan. He wants to stay in motion.
"It's really hard watching the games on TV," he said. "It's really hard not being on the field with the team. It doesn't matter if we win or lose. I want to be part of this club. But right now I'm focused on being back next year healthy and trying to be with the team."
That means more rehab work on the arm, more travel and, inevitably, more time away from the team. But barring a major setback, he expects to be at full strength and ready for game action next Spring Training.
"It's tough," he said. "I need to stay focused mentally, be positive and try to be back healthy."
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.