Swelling down, Miggy expects to play in opener

Swelling down, Miggy expects to play in opener

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The swelling is down around Miguel Cabrera's injured right eye, and the discoloration is gone. The vision is fine, he said. The only lingering sign that the Tigers third baseman took a high hopper a week ago is the cut under his eye.

The boredom, though, has set in. Cabrera is ready to play baseball again. And when the Tigers open the season April 5 against the Red Sox, he expects to be playing.

"I'll be ready. Don't worry," Cabrera said.

The way he said it, there's no doubt in his mind.

Officially, the third baseman still has a doctor's exam coming up. He needs medical clearance to resume physical activity, let alone play baseball. But the fact that Cabrera's eyesight is fine and his pain is non-existent has him very encouraged.

"I don't feel any pain, nothing," Cabrera said. "The next day, I was feeling good. I was a little sore and swelling, but I was like normal. I was [feeling] like I was going to be OK very soon."

For now, Cabrera is quite bored. He spent the last few days basically resting, watching some television. The only baseball he has watched is the replay of the incident, trying to figure out what he could've possibly done differently to prevent what happened.

Cabrera has watched it several times. He can't find anything to second-guess.

"I [tried to] see if I did something wrong or if something helps me to get better or help me [make sure that] this doesn't happen again," he said. "But I don't have anything [else] to do with the ball. I was in good position. I was right there. And at the last second, I see the ball in my eyes."

Next thing Cabrera knew, he saw blood coming out, essentially covering his hands. But he wasn't in pain.

"I was thinking I'm going to feel so much pain the next day," he said. "But it was OK. It was like not too swelling. It was a good feeling."

Cabrera came to Joker Marchant Stadium on Monday, he said, because he wanted to see his friends -- not just on the Tigers, but the Marlins.

"I want to see Hanley [Ramirez]," he said. "I want to see Ozzie [Guillen]. I want to say hi to all my friends on the other side. I say hi to my friends here. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be here for practice."

Considering his exam is scheduled for Tuesday morning, it's conceivable Cabrera could be at the park for the afternoon. The Tigers will be in Kissimmee in face the Astros, but it leaves the field open for the third baseman to do some work if he wants.

Cabrera doesn't expect to have any lingering effects. He doesn't expect to have any hesitation the first time a hard chopper comes his way on a bad field. He isn't afraid, he said, of taking another one.

"It can happen anytime to me again, but I'm not scared," he said. "I'm not scared of anything. I'll go out there and play baseball."

The Tigers are planning as if Cabrera will be ready. Manager Jim Leyland said a few days ago that he has a couple of potential Opening Day lineups he's working on -- one presumably with Cabrera, and one without. However, Leyland said Monday that Cabrera's injury will have no effect on how he decides the final positional spot on the 25-man roster, a strong indication he expects Cabrera back.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.