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Miggy's foot progressing; Opening Day in sights

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Miguel Cabrera and his surgically repaired right foot have been cleared to begin a running progression and limited baseball activity. The Tigers slugger's CT scan showed enough healing to give the team optimism that he could be ready close to Opening Day, according to specialist Dr. Robert Anderson's review.

"It's very positive news," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski told reporters Wednesday at Joker Marchant Stadium. "We feel good about it. I spoke to Miguel just a short while ago about this. The news is good. You could see him out there next week hitting and throwing."

Cabrera has been limited to upper-body work and limited weight-bearing activities on his legs since undergoing surgery in mid-October. Dr. Anderson removed a bone spur from his right ankle, which was expected, but he also had a stress fracture of the navicular bone in his foot, which wasn't previously known.

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Hitting and throwing will be the only baseball activities Cabrera is allowed to do when workouts begin next week. He won't be able to do any fielding until he's further along in his running progression.

The running, Dombrowski said, will be controlled on an anti-gravity treadmill, similar to what Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias used during his rehab from stress fractures in his legs. Cabrera will run on such a treadmill in Miami while the Tigers acquire one for their Spring Training facility.

How Cabrera progresses from there, and how cautious the Tigers are with their two-time American League MVP Award winner and three-time AL batting champion, will determine when he returns.

"They really didn't give us a timeframe," Dombrowski said, "and they don't want to give a timeframe because they don't want to push him. They had said six months in the very beginning, and that's around the middle of April. I don't see any reason why that's not the approximate timeframe, around Opening Day, to be able to go full-bore."

Cabrera underwent his CT scan on Tuesday in Miami. Dr. Anderson reviewed the results on Wednesday at his office in Charlotte, N.C., after they were shipped to him overnight. The CT scan had been scheduled as part of the exam. Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand mentioned it back in January after Dr. Anderson had cleared Cabrera to remove his walking boot and move around in his normal shoes.

"He felt very positive about the news," Dombrowski said of Cabrera. "He's been feeling good. He continues to feel better and better all the time. The one thing with Miguel, as we see with the injuries he has, he wants to be in the lineup and play."

Cabrera's rehab coincides with the recovery of fellow All-Star and AL MVP Award runner-up Victor Martinez, who underwent surgery last Tuesday on a torn meniscus in his left knee. Martinez is expected to be back in four to six weeks, giving him a chance to be ready for Opening Day as well.

Minor Leaguers Jordan Lennerton and Aaron Westlake, Dombrowski said, will share duties at first base until Cabrera is ready for game action.

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason.
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