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Detroit Tigers outfielder Miguel Cabrera was arrested last February on charges that included driving under the influence and resisting an officer without violence prior to spring training. Cabrera was able to reach a settlement on those charges Thursday as he plead no contest to the DUI charge while getting resisting an officer charge dropped.
Cabrera won't need to serve any jail time under the plea agreement, according to a report from the Detroit Free Press, but he apparently was ready to go through the legal battle if it wouldn't have disallowed him from joining the Tigers during this year's spring training.
"Miguel Cabrera is determined not to allow this to go on any further," his lawyer, Michael Kessler, said in a statement. "He wants this behind him before the start of spring training. For that reason, and for that reason only, Miguel Cabrera asked me to settle this case today."
Cabrera's plea agreement came on the same day that the defense provided additional evidence that included photos of the restaurant Cabrera was at prior to his arrest and transcripts of a 911 call, according to the Free Press.
In the hours and days following Miguel Cabrera’s arrest on suspicion of drunk driving, many fans and reporters suggested that the Tigers hire someone to work as a coach, companion or “accountability partner” who could help keep Cabrera out of trouble and avoid temptation. The model cited was the arrangement that the Texas Rangers have set up for outfielder Josh Hamilton with coach Johnny Narron.
On the road, the two have adjoining rooms. They eat together, with Narron usually handling the cash because Hamilton doesn’t carry more than $20 to help keep temptations at bay. They study the Bible together. They go to the park together. The exception is when Hamilton’s wife Katie and his family travel with him.
Such a mentor figure is apparently considered necessary in the treatment program set up for Cabrera by Major League Baseball and the players’ union, as former major league outfielder Raul Gonzalez was hired to be a companion for the Tigers’ first baseman during the season. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski said that Gonzalez was recommended by Cabrera’s representatives.
“They knew him, and knew him well, and thought he would be a good person,” Dombrowski said. “They wanted us to meet him. Miguel had never met him until that took place.
“I’ve heard a lot of good things about him throughout his career, as far as a person. When I met him, I was very impressed. He’s a quality individual.”
According to Jon Paul Morosi, the Tigers wouldn’t specify exactly what Gonzalez’s responsibilities would entail, citing health privacy laws. Dombrowski did say that Gonzalez would be with the team for the entire season. And though he won’t be suiting up for games, Gonzalez will help out with pregame on-field workouts.
Gonzalez, 37, played professionally for 20 seasons, seeing time in the majors from 2000-2004, mostly with the New York Mets. He was still playing in the Mexican League as recently as last year, and was preparing to play this season before being tabbed to assist Cabrera. Gonzalez is a native of Puerto Rico.
“Good player, good guy,” Peralta said. “Intelligent guy. He has a lot of experience. He had the respect (of his teammates). When I played with him, he was never in trouble. He was always at the field. A good father and family guy.”
Morosi also said in his report that Dombrowski would not say who would be paying Gonzalez’s salary, whether it’s the Tigers, MLB, the players’ union or Cabrera himself.
According to the report, police were called to a steakhouse after Cabrera allegedly threatened the bar manager and an off-duty wildlife officer who was nearby. Cabrera walked into the establishment following last call and was asked to leave. Instead, he went over to a table and began talking to people.
When the bar manager, Fletcher Nail, asked Cabrera to leave again, a threat was allegedly made.
When Nail again asked him to leave, Cabrera patted a bag on his shoulder and leaned down close to the manager’s face.
“You don’t know me,” Cabrera told him. “I will kill you. I know all of you, and I will kill all of you and blow this place up.”
The off-duty agent on hand backed up Nail’s story, saying that Cabrera told them “he had a gun in his bag for us.” But the police report does not indicate that Cabrera was found with a gun when he was arrested.
Once police were called, Cabrera left the steakhouse. But not before getting into a verbal altercation with a patron on the front porch, according to the Detroit Free Press. Approximately a half-hour after leaving, Cabrera’s SUV was found by the side of the road 20 miles away from the restaurant.
Previous reports mentioned that Cabrera was upset when police approached him, threatening to kill someone and complaining that the officers didn’t know his problems. But the Detroit News story on the police report includes a disturbing anecdote that indicates Cabrera’s addled state of mind.
When deputies told Cabrera to drop to his knees so they could handcuff him, he said, “(expletive) shoot me. Kill me.”
The Oakland Press has police video of Cabrera’s arrest.
Leyland said he checked with many members of the organization before he decided to put Cabrera into Monday’s lineup.
“I talked to him, I talked to every trainer (with the club), I talked to the coaches, and I called my boss (Dave Dombrowski), so that everyone was on the same page,” Leyland said.
The Tigers began their Grapefruit League play on Saturday with Phil Coke helping the Tigers take a 4-0 win in his debut as a starting pitcher. The Tigers will sandwich Monday’s game against New York with another duel against the Blue Jays on Tuesday.
Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland didn’t fully commit to the idea, but it looks like slugger Miguel Cabrera will make his spring training debut on Monday when the Tigers take on the New York Yankees in Lakeland.
“We’ve got our superstar back now and are getting ready to go,” said Leyland. “He will not play Sunday. Monday is more of a possibility, but I’m not assuring it. He’s getting a lot of good work in at home today.”
“But he’s ready,” Leyland said. “I watched his bat yesterday in batting practice. I’m more worried about his legs and being sure. Am I protecting myself? I am. I’m not putting him out after one day.”
The Tigers opened up their Grapefruit League play today, beating the Toronto Blue Jays, 4-0.
Cabrera missed the club’s first six workouts after being arrested and charged with a DUI last week. Cabrera will enter an alcohol abuse program with this being his second run-in with the law in the last two years.
"First of all, I want to apologize to everybody, I want to apologize to my teammates, to my fans, to my families, to the owner of the Detroit Tigers, to the teams. This is important to me, that's why I want to speak Spanish. I don't want to make any mistakes with my language, so ... [Cabrera starts to speak in Spanish with Al Avila nearby to interpret]
Avila's interpretation: "I just want to say that I'm very sorry for what I've done. I want to apologize to all my teammates, my owner, my family, my friends and everybody I let down. I've worked very hard for a period of time in overcoming this and I just want to get back and play and have everybody forgive me and I ask for forgiveness."
Avila's interpretation: "I'm very sorry and I want to apologize to the policeman for that night -- I acted in a bad way and I hope that they forgive me. I'm very sorry for what I did and I also thank them for the way they handled everything because at the end it came out to be the best way."
Avila's interpretation: "I believe in the American justice system and that it will it take its course and I believe in the end things will be cleared up and I will be good. I also want to regain my reputation, I will work hard to regain that respect and my reputation. I just want to get back to baseball and work hard and continue my career."
At this time the floor was opened up for some questions, which Miguel answered predominantly in Spanish and then again had Al Avila interpret for the group.
Question 1: What can you tell us about that night, the situation and the circumstances that led up to it?
Avila's interpretation of the answer: He says he was on his way to Lakeland, obviously, what happened happened, but he can't speak on the matter because it's still a legal matter.
Question 2: When did you start drinking again?
Avila's interpretation: It was just one bad decision on my part. I will continue my treatment and I will continue to see the doctors and follow what their recommendations are. Unfortunately, I made a mistake this one time, but I willl continue my treatment and I will continue my doctors' orders.
Question: What are chances you take steps Josh Hamilton has taken [in having a person follow his every move for support and assurance he won't make a similar mistake again]?
Avila's interpretation: He said that he's going to do everything the doctor's they tell him to do. That is one thing we're looking at and looking at who could be that person. That's something in the works.
Question: Is this the only time you drank in the last year?
Avila's interpretation: He understands he made a big mistake, he did it just this one time and he regrets the mistake.
Question: Can you guarantee an incident like this doesn't happen again?
Avila's interpretation: "He's received tremendous support from the entire team, the organization, his family, his friends, his teammates and he is going to do everything possible for this to never happen again and restore everybody's faith in him."
Cabrera answered a few other questions and, with Dombrowski, stressed he's ready to play when Leyland decides to put him in to the lineup.
Here's video of the first portion of the press conference with Cabrera's official statement (video courtesy of MLB Network):
Parts of the Q&A before my hand got tired and the questions got stupid:
Miguel Cabrera just finished his first media session since being arrested. He apologized profusely for his actions and will stick to the orders his doctors give him so that this kind of thing won’t happen again and become a detriment to the team. Cabrera started the press conference with a brief statement, mostly in Spanish, and then took a wide range of questions (we’ll have more on all of it shortly).
For those of us who trust he’ll handle the extracurricular matters personally and would like to know when he’ll be back on the diamond, that was one of the questions answered by both Cabrera and GM Dave Dombrowski.
In short, Cabrera’s ready to play whenever Leyland is ready to put him back in the lineup. Cabrera will be with the team tomorrow, in uniform, taking batting practice and working out, but will not be in the starting lineup when the Tigers play Florida Southern. Leyland has already penciled in Ryan Strieby for the starting first base spot, although starters will only bat around once. No word on whether or not Cabrera will receive an at bat.
“Over the past several days, Miguel Cabrera has been evaluated by representatives of the Treatment Board jointly operated by the Commissioner’s Office and the MLBPA. Our Treatment Board is staffed by outstanding doctors who are experts in dealing with addiction issues. Mr. Cabrera has voluntarily cooperated and has been completely forthcoming in this process.
"As a result of the evaluation, the Treatment Board has recommended a multifaceted, professionally administered program for Mr. Cabrera, which will include supervision as is necessary to ensure that he adheres to his program. Mr. Cabrera understands the importance of this program and is fully committed to the program. He also understands that any future alcohol-related incidents could involve more serious consequences."
Miguel Cabrera arrived at camp around 3:45 p.m. EST where he met with Tigers officials. He is expected to meet with the media and speak for the first time since his arrest around 4:30 p.m. EST. We’ll update this stream after his media session is over with video and a transcription of what was said.
Miguel Cabrera will be at Spring Training today! According to Steve Kornacki of MLIVE, the slugger is in the process of getting to camp safely and will speak to the media around 4:30 p.m. EST:
#Tigers All-Star Miguel Cabrera will speak at 4:30 today, and will discuss the next step related to his return and or alcohol counseling.
Shortly thereafter, we will have the answer(s) we've all been waiting for since news first broke that Cabrera was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and resisting arrest. You can catch the media session on MLB Network or via live stream here.
If for some reason you can't watch it, according to The Detroit News' Terry Foster, transcripts of Cabrera's comments will be available to the media around 5:20 p.m. EST, so we'll be sure to update this story stream with that for you to parse through and collect your previously uninformed thoughts. I have no idea what kind of alcohol treatment, if any, Cabrera will undergo as he preps for the season, but I bet he'll be right where he belongs on Opening Day -- in the No. 4 spot of the lineup and manning first base.
The Tigers have been going about their business without Miguel Cabrera in camp, but they miss him. They can't hide it. Fans miss him, too.
With the Spring Training schedule's first pitch set for Friday with the tune-up of all tune-ups against Florida Southern, Miguel Cabrera could be making his grand return just in time for action. According to Tom Gage of The Detroit News, Cabrera's agent, Fernando Cuza, had a soiree with Dave Dombrowski at Marchant Stadium on Wednesday for what ultimately was "an an hour-long, high-level discussion with Tiger executives":
When asked if Cabrera would report Thursday, Cuza said: "I can't say anything. It's too early."
"That's about the best I can say, too," Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said when he left his office in Lakeland.
Cuza's mere presence at Marchant Stadium, however, was an indication Cabrera's status is about to be clarified — and with that clarification would come Cabrera's return to the team.
The high-level discussion was presumably about the meetings Cabrera had earlier this week with medical personnel regarding a possible course of action following his most recent legal/alcohol hiccup. How that will interfere with baseball during Spring Training, if at all, remains to be seen. Hopefully, we'll learn more when we see Cabrera join his teammates on Thursday.
An arraignment has been scheduled for Miguel Cabrera’s DUI arrest. The court date for the Detroit Tigers’ first baseman will be March 16 at the 19th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida in Fort Pierce. Judge Cliff Barnes will hear the case.
However, Cabrera does not have to appear in court himself that day, if he so chooses.
According to a representative of the 19th Judicial Circuit Court, Cabrera can, through an attorney, waive the arraignment and not have to appear on March 16. The Tigers are scheduled to play the St. Louis Cardinals in Lakeland at 1:05 p.m. on March 16, but it is unclear whether the American League’s Most Valuable Player runner-up in 2010 will be with the club at that point.
But when will Cabrera report to the Tigers’ spring training camp? That still isn’t known. Cabrera is meeting with doctors this week, after which a course of treatment will be recommended. Other than that, the Tigers say it’s team policy not to discuss legal matters involving players.
The Tigers begin their exhibition schedule on Friday with their annual game against Florida Southern.
Dave Dombrowski shed some light on the Miguel Cabrera incident to the media on Saturday morning [transcribed from video on Detroit News, which can be seen below]:
"Miguel's not going to be here today, nor will he be here for the next couple of days. We had conversations yesterday ... at the end of the day between the Commissioner's office, the Players' Association, myself, and Miguel's representative and him. And basically we've all decided that it's best that he be continuing to visit and really find out what's taken place, to be in a position where they can meet with him some doctors at the beginning of the week and completely assess what has taken place.
So, until that happens, we've all decided it's better for him to do that away from camp, even though he would love to be here, capable of playing, of course, at this point.
But he even acknowledges that he'll do whatever he needs to do to be cooperative and is willing to work with anybody with whatever needs to be done.
Dombrowski added that Cabrera has stuck to his workout programs all winter -- his trainer said he always showed up to his morning workouts on time without any hint of alcohol problems -- and that he's "tested bettter in every test he's done, as far as strength and quickness go, than he ever has in his life."
Now, the video doesn't have any quotes about it, but The Free Press has some info from Dombrowski on what happened Wednesday night before Cabrera's arrest:
"His car broke down," Dombrowski said. "The radiator blew up.
"He was on his way (to Lakeland). He had just left his home a couple of hours before that. His car broke down on the side of the road. His cell phone was out."
Dombrowski said that the night of Cabrera’s arrest marked the first time that Cabrera had "fallen off the wagon" since his publicized case of drunkenness more than a year earlier, at the end of the 2009 season.
Dombrowski doesn't know what led Cabrera to start drinking that night (and there's still no info on when he started to drink), but that's what Cabrera and the people he meets with are going to figure out before he reports to Spring Training with the rest of his team.
Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski spoke on Miguel Cabrera's arrest yesterday (albeit not very much), but there was only a string of "no comments" from Tigers skipper Jim Leyland.
Well, today he opened up to some media members and, as you'd expect of Leyland mid-chew, he wants everyone to stop being so dramatic and chill the .... out [via Detroit News]:
"Everybody getting all upset and real dramatic — do you think Magglio Ordonez is going to go about his business any different? Nobody is going to do anything any different," Leyland said.
Leyland's next comments include a spring training cliche, but also embody the utmost support a player can receive from his manager after an incident such as what happened Wednesday night [via Free Press]:
"I know for a fact, without getting into this situation, I know for a fact Miguel Cabrera is in the best shape of his life. He’s stronger than he’s ever been and he’s quicker than he’s ever been. . . . I think Miguel Cabrera is probably going to have the biggest year of his life."
Miguel Cabrera's track record in the MLB can give that sort of confidence to a manager, but you have to wonder if Leyland's being a little too bold. After all, Cabrera has never had to deal with a pending legal matter hanging over his head all season and "the biggest year of his life" is pretty damn big. Personally, I can't imagine what it'd be like witnessing any player do more than what Cabrera has done year in, year out with the Tigers; I won't fight it, though, if it happens. I just think Leyland would've been fine leaving it at, "Miguel Cabrera will be Miguel Cabrera," because as a fan we can't expect more.
Based on baseball's history of similar allegations of alcohol or substance abuse, Cabrera won't be cleared to get on the field until he has been examined by a doctor who will prescribe a course of treatment. The doctor is appointed jointly by baseball management and the players union. He could undergo the treatment while continuing to play.
Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said Thursday that he expects Cabrera to join the team at some point.
Something like this, of course, should've been anticipated after Dombrowski's comments on Thursday. Depending on how many days Cabrera misses, it shouldn't be a major issue. Cabrera is reportedly in great shape and has been taking regular BeePs sessions leading up to this point. Even if Cabrera were to miss some live pitching this spring, he's the kind of talent where it shouldn't affect him much, if at all.
Dave Dombrowski spoke with the media around 4 p.m. this afternoon in Lakeland on the matter of Miguel Cabrera's arrest:
"I was completely shocked," said Dombrowski. "I had no idea. First of all, I didn’t think there were any problems there because it has been thoroughly addressed, but I’m thoroughly aware, and I’ve said this all along, when you deal with issues with alcohol it’s a constant battle for a person for the rest of their life."
Dombrowski couldn't shed any light on the situation due to legal reasons and because he's still not privy to all the facts at play here. He said Cabrera is currently at his home in Boca Raton, Fla., and does not know when Cabrera will report to camp:
"He would love to be here tomorrow, but we still need to work through some of this," said Dombrowski. "Is he capable of reporting? Yes. I think we need to find out more information about if he’ll be here. He wants to be here."
Dombrowski went on to say he has been involved with these types of "treatment situations" in the past and anticipates Cabrera will be with the team, but could not make it a 100-percent type statement.
Tom Leyden at WXYZ Channel 7 Action News provided the audio of the impromptu presser, so you can listen to it below:
Upon my arrival I observed the defendant handcuffed andbeing held onto by D/S _____. He walked him towards my patrol vehicle and advised the defendant to gt [sic] into my patrol vehicle multiple times and the defendant kept stating "Do you know who I am, you don'tknow anything about my problems" [...]
D/S Muller advised me that he was in handcuffs due to him failing to follow his orders and that he kept running out in the road with his hands up. I then asked the defendant to get into my patrol vehicle and he stated "F**k you" do you know who I am, I asked him several times to sit in my patrol vehicle and he failed to comply with my orders. I then lifted his left hand to gain pain compliance and he then pushed off the vehicle into me. I then delivered 3-4 knee spikes into his left thigh muscle and the defendant fell into the vehicle. [...]
... the driver who was later identified by his valid Florida DL as Jose Miguel Cabrera, while speaking with him he detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath when he spoke, his eyes where [sic] bloodshot and watery and his speech was scented and heavily slurred. He then advised me that he asked Jose who was with him and he state "I am going to f**king kill him" D/S M___ did not see anyone else in the vehicle or in the area. D/S M__ then advised me that he observed Jose pick up a bottle of James Buchanan's Scotch whisky [sic] and start drinking it.
He then advised me that he asked for his ID and Jose handed him a passport and Jose got out of the car and starting [sic] walking into the roadway putting his hands up. D/S M___ then advised me that he ordered Jose multiple times to get out of the roadway and after a few times he complied but would wander out to the road again. [...]
I transported Jose to the St. Lucie County Jail, while traveling to the jail a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emanated within my vehicle that was not there prior to Jose being put inside.
You can read the report in its entirety here.
The only thing Cabrera has going for him is that he did not take a Breathalyzer, so there's no absolute proof that he was intoxicated above the legal limit while "driving." But there's no proof he was ever actually "driving," either. The police report is extremely vague as to whether or not Cabrera was ever driving or even in the driver's seat (with the keys in the ignition) when he was initially approached by an officer, although they refer to him in the report as "driver." Cabrera referenced another person when the officer asked him who he was with; either Cabrera was really crazy drunk, the real driver went to get help while Cabrera stayed behind with the broken down car, or Cabrera was witty enough to make up another person to make it seem like he was never actually driving.
At any rate, he still had an open container and resisted arrest, so it doesn't completely absolve Cabrera if he wasn't in fact the "driver." And the fact he was supposedly inebriated after having sought treatment for his alcoholism last year is a whole other issue.
He was booked into the St. Lucie County Jail at 12:20 a.m. today and released at 7:45 a.m. after posting $1,350 bond, according to information provided by Mark Weinberg from the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office
Cabrera’s eyes were bloodshot and watery and his speech was heavily slurred, according to deputies who arrested him in on Okeechobee Road in Ft. Pierce.
In an arrest affidavit, deputies said Cabrera repeated "Do you know who I am, you don’t know anything about my problems."
According to the police report, it took 3-4 knee spikes to Cabrera's left leg to get him into the squad car. There are no reports on what his blood alcohol content was (he refused to take a test), but judging from the facts it doesn't look good, at all.
This is roughly a year and a half after Cabrera was arrested on the morning of a big, important game after a domestic-abuse complaint was called in by his wife. Cabrera's teammates are worried about him and the Tigers held a closed-door meeting this morning, presumably to discuss the situation and how the team might handle it going forward.
This is disappointing news, and just hours after I wrote that you should feel all warm and cozy inside because of Cabrera's contract. We'll definitely be updating this StoryStream as news becomes available, so check back later for more.
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