LAKELAND — Tigers players hit and threw in the cages on Saturday since a deluge of rain prevented them from doing any meaningful baseball activities outside. Players did, however, play catch and partook in one over the shoulder drill for a short time in the rain. And at this point the players are anxious to get some real games in, even if they're just exhibition ones.
With just one day until the March 2 exhibition game against Florida Southern the Tigers have prepared for just about everything they can, with few exceptions. Joe Nathan and Joba Chamberlain (who was re-signed by the Tigers on February 24) both faced live hitters standing in for the first time for their bullpen sessions.
An update on the update for Miguel Cabrera, Alex Avila
Avila was held out of team activities for one more day, but Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said he'd be "shocked" if anything prevented Avila from returning to duty on Sunday. Cabrera was also feeling better Saturday morning, Ausmus saying Cabrera was acting like himself again. That also meant he was cracking jokes with teammates and dancing around the clubhouse.
"I asked him what he was doing today and he said he was gonna run but I think he was joking," Ausmus said. "Actually, at the end of the day yesterday, (he) felt better than he did earlier in the day. He started hitting and he was his normal jovial self."
Protecting Victor Martinez from Victor Martinez
Saturday was the day for team photos, and that meant Martinez was also in attendance, along with Little Victor, who isn't so little anymore. Ausmus has been trying to keep Martinez away from the clubhouse because of the inevitable desire he'll have to participate in team activities.
"He said he's going to run on the AlterG and he said he might swing the bat," Ausmus said. "I said, 'What are you going to do, hit off the tee?' He said, 'Yeah, maybe soft toss.' So see, he's already trying to get more involved. I said, 'Let's hold off on the soft toss because then you'll want to hit live.'"
Ausmus had managed to keep Martinez clear of the clubhouse, until today. Martinez will be back on Monday to run on the AlterG treadmill, possibly more. How much more will be determined when Martinez talks to head athletic trainer Kevin Rand and his doctors. That includes the possibility of swinging the bat for the first time since his injury.
"My understanding is when he gets here, he's going to start doing his rehabilitation here. We really just wanted to keep him away from the facility until he can start doing baseball activities because we don't want him to be tempted to do it too early."