Maybin's positive energy, and bat, sparking Tigers

Wiser than in first stint with club, outfielder giving clubhouse a lift

Maybin's positive energy, and bat, sparking Tigers

DETROIT -- Cameron Maybin's three-hit effort in Friday's 7-5 loss to the Rays pushed him to 8-for-13 in his second stint with the Tigers, and he has four stolen bases in as many tries. Maybin's bigger impact, though, might be in the dugout and clubhouse.

"I'm going to be honest with you: Cam's personality has been huge for us," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "He brings energy. He brings excitement to the game. He loves to play the game. When you add a personality like that, it helps everybody."

Kinsler wasn't the only one touting Maybin's presence.

"On the field and in the clubhouse, he's high-energy, a very personable guy," right-hander Justin Verlander said.

It's a presence the Tigers didn't have much of until this week, as Maybin was sidelined recovering from left wrist and right shoulder injuries over the first month and a half of the season. It's a presence not even Maybin brought during his first go-round in Detroit, back in 2007.

Maybin's first hit of 2016

Maybin returned this season an older, wiser person and player. When Detroit first called Maybin up, he was a highly touted 20-year-old prospect and former first-round pick with expectations to match his talent. He was called up in the middle of a division race in hopes of providing a spark, but he seemingly carried those pressures with him.

"The game's tough enough," Maybin said, "so I don't really want to add any extra stress that isn't needed."

Maybin has been through a world of experiences since then, from being traded to being injured, from being the hotshot youngster to being a veteran. Maybin won't turn 30 until next April, but he has seen a lot.

Maybin steals second

"I think it's a little different now playing with him than when I did, gosh, nine years ago," Verlander said. "He's established himself a bit more. I think he feels more comfortable around the clubhouse. He feels more comfortable expressing his opinions, going up to whoever and saying, 'Let's go.' I think he's added a great spark to this team."

That was exactly what Maybin has been hoping to do.

"Hopefully, I can provide a spark," Maybin said. "It's going to take everybody in here, but hopefully, I can just bring a little bit of fun in here. It doesn't matter what happens; we have to enjoy the game. When you're away from it, grinding on rehab stints, you remember how much you appreciate it and how much of a privilege it is. We just have to get back to having fun, I think. That's the biggest thing.

"If we have fun and don't put any extra pressure on ourselves, I think we'll be fine."

Upton scores on balk

Maybin has taken a similar approach at the plate. All three singles on Friday were ground balls through the hole. Two of them advanced baserunners, including a ball through the right side as Justin Upton took off for second, putting Upton on third base ahead of a Matt Andriese run-scoring balk.

"The area I'm focusing on, hitting the ball, it just keeps me on every pitch," Maybin said. "It gives me the opportunity to have quality at-bats and recognize tough pitches. I'm staying within myself and not trying to do too much. I think that's the most important thing."

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.