DETROIT -- Detroit Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski spoke to the media for more than an hour Thursday about last season and next year.
The first question and many more that followed were about Miguel Cabrera's infamous weekend.
"We know he made a mistake. He knows he made a mistake," Dombrowski said. "I feel confident that he going to address the issues he needs to address to take care of the problems that he has. Those issues will remain personal and private."
Olney: Tigers Must Address Cabrera
Based on the evidence, there's a chance Miguel Cabrera played in a vital Saturday night game for Detroit while still intoxicated to the point where he wouldn't be able to drive legally, Buster Olney writes. Blog
Cabrera, the slugging first baseman with a $152 million contract, got drunk enough between Friday night's game and Saturday morning to have what police said was 0.26 blood-alcohol reading and a bruised and cut left cheek.
Authorities said he got in a fight with his wife, who called 911. He was taken to a police station, where Dombrowski picked him up.
Dombrowski acknowledged being angry and sad to get a call at 7:30 a.m. Saturday -- in the middle of a key series against the Chicago White Sox with the AL Central title largely Detroit's for the taking -- to pick up Cabrera.
Still, he said it wasn't unprecedented in baseball or elsewhere.
"This isn't the first time this has happened, not with him but with players, it's just that you don't know about the other ones," Dombrowski told reporters. "I would gather there's probably somebody out here that has come to work and had a little bit of a hangover at some time."
Cabrera likely still had some alcohol in his system when he played the White Sox on Saturday night -- going 0-for-4 with runners on base for each at-bat -- but Dombrowski said the team stands by putting him in the lineup.
"The feeling was that he was capable of playing in the game," Dombrowski said.
The Dombrowski-led Tigers have some key decisions to make in the offseason.
"We have some good players that are becoming free agents," Dombrowski said. "We still have to sit down with the owner on what we're going to do there. We have a complicated formula this year because we have a lot of dollars spent and some young players we think are ready to step in and help us."
"We are not going to be able to keep all of our players," Dombrowski added. "But I'm not ready to declare who we are and who we are not going to pursue."
The clutch-hitting, strong-fielding Polanco hopes to return to play for the Tigers, but he might have to go elsewhere for more than a one-year contract.
"I would love to come back, but I do not control the situation," Polanco said Thursday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "I had a great time on and off the field with the Detroit Tigers."
Dombrowski said if Polanco isn't back, prospect Scott Sizemore will likely be Detroit's second baseman.
The Tigers aren't sure if they have a player in their organization who could be a closer next year, but they might not be able to afford to keep Rodney after he had 37 saves in 38 chances.
"It only takes one club to give a tremendous deal," Dombrowski said.
The Tigers had a seven-game lead with less than a month left in the season and became the first team to miss out on the playoffs after having a three-game lead with four games left. Detroit's season ended Tuesday night at Minnesota with a 6-5 loss in 12 innings in the division tiebreaker.
Dombrowski said he never thought the 2009 Tigers were a powerhouse but acknowledged it was tough to come so close to winning the division.
"When you're in first place from May 10th and you lose on the last day of the season, it's heartbreaking," Dombrowski said.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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