Tigers' Cabrera cleared to return to field

Tigers' Cabrera cleared to return to field

Tigers' Cabrera cleared to return to field
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- All-Star Miguel Cabrera was cleared by doctors to resume physical activity on Tuesday, eight days after an odd bounce on a ground ball caused a fracture below his right eye.

Cabrera was examined on Tuesday morning by a specialist in Lakeland, close to the Spring Training facility. Once he was cleared, he returned to Joker Marchant Stadium for conditioning drills. He'll resume baseball activities there on Wednesday.

Manager Jim Leyland met with Cabrera at the stadium before leaving for Osceola County Stadium, where the rest of the Tigers took on the Astros on Tuesday afternoon, a game that ended in a 14-7 loss.

Leyland normally stays subdued about injuries, but he didn't hide his enthusiasm over Cabrera's impending return.

"That's not good news. That's great news," Leyland said. "You don't realize when you write a lineup card what a void it is when you lose any one of your regular hitters, but particularly him. That shortens up that lineup quite a bit, and when he's in, that extends that lineup quite a bit.

"So we got the best possible news we could have got. We're thrilled."

No timetable was given for Cabrera's return to game action, but it's expected he should be ready later in the week. Cabrera told MLive.com that he could be ready in two or three days, something Leyland suggested last week. The Tigers have a Thursday evening game against the Nationals that will be televised in Michigan, so if Cabrera's healthy, he could return in a showcase game.

Regardless of the return date, the clearance all but ensures that Cabrera should be ready for Opening Day, on April 5 against the Red Sox, a timetable that seemed in question when the injury occurred.

When talking with reporters on Monday, Cabrera predicted that he would be ready for the season.

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

Cabrera spent the past week resting at his spring home, watching some television. The only baseball he watched was the replay of the incident, trying to figure out what he could have possibly done differently to prevent it.

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

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.