ASG veteran Miggy takes pride in experience

Tigers slugger enjoying 11th Midsummer Classic

ASG veteran Miggy takes pride in experience

SAN DIEGO -- While looking ahead to the next in a long line of All-Star Game appearances, Miguel Cabrera briefly flashed back Monday morning. It was 2004 in Houston, and a 21-year-old Cabrera was taking part in his first Midsummer Classic in the middle of his second Major League season.

"It was great," Cabrera said. "I met a lot of great players. I was asking a lot of questions about hitting, what they do."

Cabrera is 33 years old now, in the middle of his 14th season, and he's become the veteran in the All-Star clubhouse. The Tigers' lone representative in San Diego this year, Cabrera was selected to the All-Star Game presented by MasterCard (with coverage beginning tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX) for the 11th time, more than anyone else in San Diego.

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"I'm old now," Cabrera said, smiling. "I'm old."

There are 17 first-time All-Stars on the American League squad alone. What if one of them approaches Cabrera on Tuesday like he once did as a young All-Star?

"If they do the same to me, I'm going to appreciate that," Cabrera said.

That part of the experience is one thing that makes each All-Star Game special for Cabrera, elected this season to his seventh straight All-Star squad.

Asked if there was anything special about this particular trip to San Diego, Cabrera cracked a smile and quipped, "Besides fun?"

But it's not just about his own experience, Cabrera said. He brought his son, Christopher Alexander Cabrera, with him to San Diego.

"I think the All-Star Game's more special with your family," Cabrera said. "You enjoy it with them. They have a really good time. It's a good experience."

Yet Cabrera, the two-time AL Most Valuable Player Award winner and former Triple Crown winner, still found time Monday to critique his first-half performance. He waved his right arm in front of his face to describe his swing, especially against left-handed pitchers.

"That's the key," Cabrera said. "That's why I'm hitting -- like people say -- only .290."

Cabrera didn't play in last year's game due to a left calf injury, and he won't start on Tuesday night. That nod went to Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, and Cabrera made the team as a reserve elected by his fellow players -- his first such assignment since 2012, when Adrian Beltre started over him at third base.

Cabrera has been selected to seven All-Star Games in nine years with the Tigers, tied with Jim Bunning for the fourth-most in Detroit history.

"I mean, you enjoy every All-Star Game," Cabrera said. "It's what you take [with you] after you're done playing baseball. I'm here in San Diego, I have fun over there, I've got this and that, I've been to these All-Star Games. You take a lot of pride in it."

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.