DETROIT -- For Miguel Cabrera, an old bat, not rest, might have been the trick to getting the slugger back on his game. Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus lent Cabrera one of his bats for batting practice on Monday after a remark Cabrera made.
"He said something to me," Ausmus said. "I can't remember if he said he was hitting like me or he needed one of my bats. And I said 'hey, I think I got one.' And (clubhouse manager) Jim Schmakel had some of my old bats, so I grabbed one for him and he just used it for a round of BP."
The in-game home runs that followed weren't cheap, either. Both were opposite field shots that landed in the same right field corner -- near the Belle Tire sign just inside of the foul pole. The solo shot in the first, and later the three-run homer in the fifth, both carried well instead of the lazy flyouts that fans had been seeing of late.
As typically is the case when Cabrera breaks out of a slump, the "hitless" list of slumps broken was rather lengthy. Monday was no different. His double to left field in the third, while a grounder, was still scorched nonetheless. A's third baseman Chris Cochlan made a vain diving attempt at it but by the time Coco Crisp got to it in left field, Cabrera was sauntering into second.
As was recently covered, Cabrera's missing hits haven't been due to a lack of power. Because he's been dealing with health issues on and off for the last few years, getting back to the "old Miggy" isn't as simple as flipping a switch. Picking up Ausmus' old bat isn't necessarily magical in dispelling the gremlins that have been pestering Cabrera. But a day of rest and switching things up might have been enough to kick Cabrera back into gear.
Cabrera's monster night did more than end his dry streak, it snapped a four-game losing streak for the team. His four RBI made the difference in the game and set the tone for the team. Victor Martinez's home run immediately after Cabrera's in the fifth provided some insurance, but for the fans -- and the team -- it's good to see Cabrera clicking again. Regardless of whose bat he's using.