Mike Kane and his HR ball
(DETROIT FREE PRESS) - Before Miguel Cabrera stepped into the cage for batting practice prior to today's Game 3 of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park, he had a word for a couple of cameramen behind home plate.
"Cut!" he said, as the cameras peered too closely into the conversation he and Prince Fielder were having.
Cabrera smiled, gave the Fox cameraman a fist bump and stepped into the cage, where he took cut after cut after cut, looking nothing like the hobbled player he was for the first few games this postseason.
The Detroit Tigers third baseman slammed home runs to rightfield, he slammed them to left. He slammed them off the high wall in rightcenter and off the short wall just below the shrubs in dead center. (Watch the video on mobile)
And he slammed one into the brown Mizuno mitt of Mike Kane.
"As long as I could get my mitt on it, I was happy," Kane, 49, of Grand Rapids said.
"These balls come out here fast, they come out like rockets, man."
Those off the bat of a healthy Cabrera generally do.
After being held homerless over the first four games of the postseason, the Tigers' slugger snapped his drought with a game-winning home run in Game 5 against the Oakland Athletics.
He added another over the Green Monster in Game 2 of the ALCS at Fenway Park, but despite those home runs and the power show Kane witnessed this afternoon, the Tigers' fan sided with the Tigers' manager on Cabera's health.
"He's still not 100 percent," Kane said.
Cabrera shared a bat with Fielder during the round, and they shared the cage with designated hitter Victor Martinez, who eventually sent an official MLB postseason ball to rightcenter and into Kane's glove for the second time.
"I guess it's confidence," Kane, admittedly afraid of the ball, said about his second catch. "And there weren't people around trying to knock at your glove."
Cabrera is hitting .259 this postseason with those two longballs as his only extra-base hits.
He isn't 100 percent, Leyland insists, but the cuts he took in the cage today indicate he could be closer to it than he has all October.
Detroit Free Press