TAMPA, Fla. -- A few scattered boos among the packed crowd at George M. Steinbrenner Field was the one reminder of what happened the last time Jose Cabrera and the Tigers faced the Yankees."If they want to make something, they can make something," Cabrera said Friday. "I'm not able to
TAMPA, Fla. -- A few scattered boos among the packed crowd at George M. Steinbrenner Field was the one reminder of what happened the last time Jose Cabrera and the Tigers faced the Yankees.
"If they want to make something, they can make something," Cabrera said Friday. "I'm not able to please everybody."
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Cabrera said a few words as he stepped to the plate in the first inning, with Austin Romine behind the plate, but Cabrera said it was nothing. More important to the Tigers slugger was the at-bat, his first of the spring, as he tries to regain his old swing following back issues last year.
Cabrera grounded out to third base in that first at-bat, then singled through the right side of the Yankees' infield to lead off the fourth. He was lifted for a pinch-runner in the eventual 3-1 Tigers loss.
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The swings were too few for Cabrera to tell a difference from last year, when he said chronic back issues left him struggling to reach outside pitches with his swing. His swings in batting practice at least have him encouraged.
"I feel loose. That's very important," Cabrera said.
He said he's still working on his approach at the plate.
"I'm trying to work on that right now, trying to be more calm at home plate and trying not to swing at a lot of bad pitches like last year," Cabrera said. "Wait for my pitch and try to put my best swing on it."
Tigers wear caps in honor of Stoneman Douglas High School
Like teams across Major League Baseball, the Tigers donned the caps of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School baseball team for Friday's game following the tragedy in Parkland, Fla., last week.
"We all know what's happened," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It was really tough watching television and watching all this sadness. Kids going to school and what they love most is learning, and all of a sudden, so much tragedy."
Tigers sign 17 non-arbitration players
The Tigers moved closer to getting their entire 40-man roster under contracts by reaching agreements with 17 players who aren't yet eligible for arbitration, a list that includes All-Star Michael Fulmer.
Others agreeing to terms included right-handers Sandy Baez, Eduardo Jimenez, Joe Jimenez, Gerson Moreno, Zac Reininger, Warwick Saupold and Spencer Turnbull; left-handed pitchers Chad Bell, Matthew Boyd, Jairo Labourt, Gregory Soto and Daniel Stumpf; infielders Dawel Lugo and Dixon Machado; and outfielders Mike Gerber and JaCoby Jones.
Players who aren't yet eligible for arbitration or free agency can either agree to terms on contracts or have their contracts renewed. Fulmer is a year away from arbitration.
The deals leave the Tigers with 29 of their 40-man roster players under contract for 2018.
Tigers sign Coleman to Minor League deal
Detroit signed right-handed reliever Louis Coleman to a Minor League contract, according to SB Nation. Coleman posted an 8-5 record, 3.51 ERA and two saves in 213 appearances over six seasons with the Royals and Dodgers before spending last year at the Triple-A level with the D-backs and Reds. The 31-year-old posted a 4-2 record and 2.25 ERA in 50 games between Reno and Louisville, allowing 44 hits over 64 innings, with 32 walks and 77 strikeouts.
Victor Martinez is expected to get his first at-bats of the spring, and his first playing time since heart ablation surgery last September, when the Tigers host the Blue Jays in a 1:05 p.m. ET game at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium on Saturday. The 39-year-old is scheduled to start at designated hitter, while Jordan Zimmermann makes his first start of the spring.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.