Miguel Cabrera arrives at Detroit Tigers spring training, finding himself in the coaches’ room.

In Lakeland, Florida, Miguel Cabrera stepped out of the clubhouse onto the field at Joker Marchant Stadium, appearing as if he had never left. Now serving as a special assistant in the Detroit Tigers’ front office, Cabrera arrived on Tuesday for his inaugural day of spring training. The iconic player, with a Hall of Fame-worthy career spanning 21 years, retired at the conclusion of the previous season and is now spending the week in a coaching capacity.

On his first day back, Cabrera sported the familiar bright orange spring training hat worn by his former teammates, along with the same Oakley sunglasses that bore witness to his emotional farewell on the final day of his playing career over five months ago.

Expressing his sentiments, Cabrera remarked, “I’m feeling good. I feel like I gave everything I had in baseball. Right now I can say, ‘OK, that’s enough.’ I didn’t want to leave baseball and say I can play more. No, I can’t play anymore. No more baseball for me. Volleyball and softball.”

Detroit Tigers special assistant Miguel Cabrera on his first day of spring training March 12, 2024, at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida.

During stretches in the stadium, Cabrera playfully engaged in right field, participated in catching throws at first base during infield drills, and chased down fly balls in the outfield during batting practice.

With 21 seasons of professional baseball under his belt, Cabrera confidently asserts that he doesn’t miss playing the sport.

“I played a lot. I gave everything I had,” Cabrera remarked.

Throughout infield drills, Cabrera conversed with first baseman Spencer Torkelson. As a special assistant, he aims to provide guidance to players, particularly in mental aspects of the game, though he remains open to offering assistance in other areas as well.

“I’m open to talking to them about whatever they ask me,” Cabrera stated. “Mostly what I want to talk to them about is the mental aspect. A lot of times, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. Just go out there, do your job, and have fun.”

Manager A.J. Hinch and Cabrera coordinated the timing of his arrival at Tigers’ spring training. The week-long coaching visit, synchronized with Cabrera’s availability, aligns well with the team’s schedule, as Opening Day approaches in less than three weeks.

“It’s a perfect time to bring his energy and his laugh to the field,” Hinch commented. “Mid-camp is always a good time to get a little boost. We’re only two weeks out from the season, and spring training can get long.”

“Spring break,” Cabrera humorously remarked.

Before participating in Tuesday’s pregame workout, Cabrera entered the coaches’ room, a first-time experience for him at the spring training facility, rather than heading to the players’ clubhouse. Reflecting on this change, he humorously acknowledged feeling old.

“It’s because you are old,” quipped Hinch, warmly welcoming him to the coaching club.

Although not in his peak physical condition, Cabrera appears healthy after offseason workouts with former teammate José Iglesias and participation in a beach volleyball league, where he clinched the league championship.

“I look like a guy who frequents South Beach,” Cabrera joked with laughter.

In December, Cabrera announced his intention to play one final baseball season for Tigres de Aragua in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League, scheduled for the 2024-25 season, commencing in late October 2024. This upcoming season is just half a year away.

Detroit Tigers special assistant Miguel Cabrera on his first day of spring training March 12, 2024, at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida.

Cabrera remains uncertain about his baseball future, stating, “I don’t know. Let’s see how my knee feels.” However, he confirmed his attendance for the Tigers’ home opener on April 5 against the Oakland Athletics at Comerica Park. In late March, he plans to be in Chicago for his daughter’s volleyball tournament, coinciding with the Tigers’ Opening Day on March 28 against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Expressing his aspirations for the Tigers, Cabrera emphasized the importance of the starting pitching staying healthy, stating, “If they stay healthy, playoffs, playoffs.”

Over the next few days, Cabrera will serve as a part-time coach in Lakeland, providing guidance to both major and minor league players. He is expected to join the batting cages at 8 a.m. daily to assist the hitting coaches.

Commenting on Cabrera’s involvement, Manager Hinch noted, “He’s going to have to stay for the whole game, which will be new. We’ll play it out as the week unfolds. We need his wisdom. We need his influence. It’s the first time he’s ever been in the coaches’ room. It’s the first time he’s going to lean on a fungo. But he’s catching up.”

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