Tigers add starting pitching to Cabrera

 * 1B Miguel Cabrera has been as steady as an assembly line in Detroit during the 1970s with the bat, and now the Tigers have added starting pitching. .... 2014 Canadians drafted … Canadians in Minors Canadians in college summer ball …. Canadians in College …. MLB Scouting Bureau camps

2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent


By Bob Elliott

The first time we ever saw Miguel Cabrera he was playing third base at Pro Player Stadium in Miami in 2003.

A year removed from playing with the class-A Jupiter Hammerheads, he started the season with the double-A Carolina Mudcats and was promoted when Marlins third baseman Mike Lowell was injured.

Wearing his age, 20, on the back of his uniform he faced Atlanta Braves starters Mike Hampton, Russ Ortiz and Shane Reynolds (average combined age 33-plus years).

All Cabrera did was go 7-for-12 (.583) with three doubles and a homer in the three-game series.

Outside the clubhouse we ran into Marlins’ broadcaster Cookie Rojas, who had been in the game since 1962, including a stint with the Blue Jays as Buck Martinez’s bench coach and asked how good was “the kid?”

“Well he might be better than the guy in Montreal,” said Rojas, referring to Vladimir Guerrero. “He has speed, power and a good eye, which is very unusual for a young hitter.”

Manager Jack McKeon, 72, guided the Marlins to a World Series victory with Josh Beckett pitching a shutout at Yankee Stadium, the first visiting starter to clinch a Series game in the Bronx since Lew Burdette in 1957 with the Milwaukee Braves.

Now, 12 seasons later, Cabrera has 2,125 hits, coming into the Detroit Tigers weekend series at the Rogers Centre. He also has a Triple Crown to his credit -- the first clear winner in all three categories since Hall of Famer Frank Robinson of the 1966 Baltimore Orioles.

And two American League MVP awards using an Ottawa Valley made Sam Bat.

Guerrero had 2,590 hits in 16 seasons, retiring in 2011 at age 36.

Cabrera brought a .310 average into the series with 36 doubles, 17 homers, 84 RBIs and an .891 OPS, compared to 1.078, .999, 1.033 and 1.042 the last four years.

Your pick: It was Bob McCown’s question, but it was a good one -- for a change -- so we figured we would get a better answer than mine to the host of Prime Time Sports’ question:

“Five years from now, if everyone stays healthy, which pitcher will have the most success? Drew Hutchison, Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez or Daniel Norris?”

Ah, with the last polling station in -- we asked eight scouts -- it is a four way tie, two votes apiece. And there is no time for a run off. Norris, now at triple-A Buffalo, was at a disavntage because three scouts had not seen him pitch. Whatever, it’s a good problem to have a split camp on four young arms.

“Stroman is a college draft he’s the most polished, right now.” said one scout.

Another chose Sanchez because “he has the highest ceiling,” even though he hasn’t started a game yet.

One of the Norris backers said “left-handers are more difficult to find, that’s why I like him best.”

And long before Hutchison’s Tuesday night game -- one hit allowed in 8 2/3 innings against the Baltimore Orioles -- a scout said of Hutchison “I don’t know if it was a fluke or they saw something when they gave him uniform No. 36, Pat Hentgen’s old number. He has some bulldog in him and he competes the way Hentgen did.”

Hentgen is now part of president Paul Beeston’s posse along with George Bell, Fred McGriff and Hall of Famer Robbie Alomar.

Who gets the ball in Game 1: The Tigers have the last three Cy Young award winners in their rotation: Saturday’s starter Max Scherzer, Sunday’s starter David Price, plus Justin Verlander, Friday’s starter Anibal Sanchez and Rick Porcello.

Who should start the post-season opener if everyone is rested?

“I think it’s one of those ‘Eeny, meeny, miny, moe’ deals,” said former Blue Jays outfielder Rajai Davis and then manager Brad Asmus will catch a Tiger starter by the toe.

Davis was sent into centre field to take over for Austin Jackson mid-game July 31 when the three-way deal with the Tampa Bay Rays and the Seattle Mariners which brought Price to Detroit.

“I didn’t know what was going on when I went into centre,” said Davis, who found out about the deal later.

Welcome back Mr. Kotter: Earlier this season Liam Hendriks talked about how distinctive Anthony Gose’s laugh was when a USA amateur team visited Australia.

“You could hear it from centre field,” Hendriks said.

And we finally heard it in the cramped clubhouse at Fenway Park.

Clubhouse manager Kevin Malloy has dubbed it a Horshack laugh, similar to Arnold Horshack (played by Ron Palillo) on the TV sitcom “Welcome Back Kotter.”

Goss has watched Horshack on You Tube and says “It’s close.”

Briefly: Torii Hunter returned to the Tigers lineup after missing two games when he was hit in the hand with a pitch. “I’ll probably be Michael Jackson in the cage, but hopefully Reggie Jackson on the field,” Hunter told reporters. “I won’t be doing any high-fives.” ... Jays infielder Steven Tolleson and his wife and Baleigh welcomed baby Sarah into the world at seven pounds four ounces.

June draft is 10 months away: Outfielder Demi Orimoloye left the East Coast Pro Showcase at Syracuse, N.Y. projected to be a third-round pick next June. The Orlean outfielder of the Ottawa-Nepean Canadians bumped his stock at the Area Code Games when he hit a long home run to left centre off a 90 MPH from Juan Hillman of Haines City, Fla. on Tuesday. And on Wednesday he crushed a pair of singles to left and played centre and ran the bases well with his 6.5 speed. Is he a first rounder for next June?