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FLIPPED: Cabrera flopped in late season 2009.

FLIPPED: Cabrera flopped in late season 2009.

Tigers’ slugger Miguel Cabrera is the latest MLB superstar to admit to substance abuse.  But, this time, it isn’t steroids, its’ alcohol.

Cabrera, entering the third year of a $153.3 million 8-year contract, is currently on the Tigers’ caravan after admitting to spending the past three months in alcohol rehab.

Sobering Finish

You’ve heard the story by now.  On October 3, 2009, as the Tigers were attempting to hold off the surging Minnesota Twins, Cabrera showed up for the Saturday game with scratches on  his face.  He said that they came from the family dog, but the police report from the night before showed a domestic dispute occurred at the Cabrera house between Miguel and wife Rosangel (named Roseanne in the police report).

Police took Miguel to jail with a blood alcohol level of .26–more than three times over the legal driving limit in Michigan.  Later reports showed that Cabrera was out drinking the night before after going 0 for 4 in a 8-0 loss to the White Sox.  Worse yet, he was out drinking WITH the White Sox players!

In Saturday’s 5-1 loss, Cabrera took the collar again and left six runners on base.  On Sunday, he went 0 for 3.

The Tigers ended up tied with the Twins for the Central Division crown, then lost to Minnesota in a one game playoff.

Despite his personal demons, Miguel Cabrera belted 34 home runs, drove in 103 runs and batted .324 in 2009.  Over the final 20 games of the season, however, he hit just .244.

Hitting the Bender

TONGUE LASHING: Cabrera says hes licked his alcohol problem.

TONGUE LASHING: Cabrera says he's licked his alcohol problem.

Cabrera said he hasn’t had an alcoholic drink since that day in early October.  “I’m a new man,” he said. “I feel like a new person. I feel happy. I feel more comfortable. It’s a new season and a new life for me.”

One writer who met up with Cabrera on the caravan says that Cabrera has a sunnier disposition since the time spent in alcohol rehab.  General Manager Dave Dombrowski said the club has a treatment plan in place for Cabrera during spring training and they’re in the process of formulating another for the grind of a 162-game regular season.

Cabrera does seem to be a new man after returning from rehab and let’s hope he was able to shake those demons.  He’s already made positive publicity by donating $90,000 to the Haiti relief efforts.

Miguel Cabrera: 2010 Fantasy Baseball Projection

As for Cabrera’s fantasy baseball projection for 2010, some managers are concerned that he hasn’t totally shaken those demons and see him as a second rounder instead.

Not us.  Cabrera tackled his problems head on and spent three months in rehab fixing the problem.  Was his drinking the reason for his hitting only .244 at the end of the season?  Perhaps.  He has already said that his body felt “lazy” some games last year.

We don’t see Cabrera’s drinking as a problem for fantasy baseball 2010.  In fact, just the opposite.  Cabrera is still young at 26 and just entering his prime.  He’s been a mark of consistency and also goes out and plays every day, never asking for a day off.

In his past seven years, he’s played at least 157 games in each season.  He’s hit 33 or more homers in five of the past six years.  He’s smacked 103-127 RBI’s per year.

We don’t see anything different out of Miguel Cabrera for the 2010 fantasy baseball season.  In fact, we think he’s capable of hitting 40 home runs for the first time and hitting .330 with 120 RBI.

Pick Miguel Cabrera in the first round of your 2010 fantasy baseball draft.

He let his teammates and his family down at the end of last season, but it won’t happen again.

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