LAKELAND, Fla. -- Barring a minor miracle for Team Venezuela, the Tigers will soon get their prominent Venezuelan players back from the World Baseball Classic, with the club on the verge of elimination. Detroit expects a healthy Jose Cabrera, despite his early departure from Thursday night's loss to the Dominican
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Barring a minor miracle for Team Venezuela, the Tigers will soon get their prominent Venezuelan players back from the World Baseball Classic, with the club on the verge of elimination. Detroit expects a healthy Jose Cabrera, despite his early departure from Thursday night's loss to the Dominican Republic with tightness in his back.
Manager Brad Ausmus said on Friday morning that Venezuelan manager and Tigers first-base coach Omar Vizquel told him much the same thing he told reporters, that Cabrera was pulled as a precaution after feeling tightness. It didn't catch Ausmus off guard, considering Cabrera's history, and it wouldn't surprise him if Cabrera has to deal with it again this year.
:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::
"He's had it happen before," Ausmus said. "There have been times he's played with it, and there are times he's come out of games. Oftentimes, it depends on how the game's developing. Is it a close game? Is it a meaningful game?
"It's probably something he'll have to deal with. Generally, back problems are something that are recurring. I had back problems the last 12 years of my career. I had back surgery the last year of my career. Certainly, it wouldn't be shocking if it was something he had to deal with on an ongoing basis."
Venezuela has one more game left in Pool F, facing Puerto Rico on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET, live on MLB.TV and MLB Network). Puerto Rico, the United States and Dominican Republic have one win each, while Venezuela is 0-2. The top two teams advance.
Ausmus does not know whether Cabrera will play, and he did not offer advice on that. He said he'll trust Cabrera's judgment.
"Miggy's pretty good at self-monitoring," Ausmus said.
The World Baseball Classic runs through Wednesday. In the U.S., games air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. The tournament is being distributed internationally across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games in San Diego's Petco Park and the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.