“He was around the house, the little kid,” Cabrera said. “Now I see him and how he has grown, and I'm like, 'Oh my God.'”
To see Vladimir Guerrero Jr. now, around the same age Cabrera was back then, threw Cabrera for a loop when the Blue Jays visited Comerica Park this past weekend. Then he watched Guerrero at the plate, and he was further in awe.
Forget the comparisons some have made between Guerrero Jr. and Cabrera at that age. Cabrera believes the young slugger could be the best in his family.
“He's going to be better than his dad,” Cabrera said, "because the way he goes out there and has the patience he has. He takes pitches. He hits pitches.”
And he can hit them a long way.
When Guerrero singled off Daniel Norris on Saturday, he worked his way out of an 0-2 count, taking a changeup, slider and fastball around the strike zone before turning on a changeup at the knees and lining it into left field.
That kind of patience usually takes hundreds of at-bats in the Majors to hone, Cabrera said. But Cabrera sees it in Guerrero already.
An inning after that single, Guerrero crushed a Gregory Soto sinker 441 feet to the shrubs in left-center for a grand slam.
“He can do that, too,” Cabrera said. “That's crazy, to think that he has a chance to be better than his dad.”
Cabrera did not have a chance to talk with Guerrero during the series, but his advice was simple.
“Keep playing and keep doing what he's doing," Cabrera said. "Because he's on a good pace to be great.”
Gardenhire has no problem with Comerica Park
Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire was ready for the questions about Comerica Park on Tuesday in light of Nicholas Castellanos’ criticisms of its deep dimensions Sunday. And no, Gardenhire didn’t have a problem with it.
“Nick making his statement, that’s what ballplayers do,” Gardenhire said. “And he made his.”
That doesn’t mean Gardenhire agrees with the sentiment. He didn’t complain about Comerica Park when he was managing the Twins, so he isn’t going to change his tune now.
“Hell, no,” Gardenhire said. “We loved coming here. We hit singles. And then we ran hard and turned them into doubles.”
Every ballpark has its unique characteristics, Gardenhire said. Comerica Park has its massively deep outfield gaps and the wall that goes across center field -- a 420-foot drive to straightaway center, but further toward left- and right-center. Ideally, Gardenhire said, a team can build a roster to best take advantage of its ballpark. In Detroit’s case, that would include line drives, contact and speed. But he acknowledges the game-wide trend toward launch angle and home runs.
In that sense, he doesn’t expect to hear pitchers complaining about the park.
• Catcher Grayson Greiner is likely out until late August as he continues to treat his low back strain, Gardenhire said. Greiner began a rehab assignment at Class A Advanced Lakeland earlier this month, and played in four games before aggravating the injury.
• Second baseman Josh Harrison could start running the bases in the next day or so, but remains at least a week away from a rehab assignment as he works his way back from surgery to repair a torn left hamstring.
• Right-hander Tyson Ross is not pitching yet as he deals with neck tightness. He has been on the injured list since May 13 with right ulnar nerve neuritis.