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Tigers' Miguel Cabrera 0 for 2 with walk in spring debut; CC Sabathia solid for Yanks

LAKELAND, Fla. -- After almost two weeks of turmoil, Miguel Cabrera returned to where he's most comfortable: a baseball field.

Cabrera played his first game following his arrest, going
0 for 2 with a walk as the Detroit Tigers' designated hitter Monday
in a 6-2 win over the New York Yankees.

Cabrera batted cleanup, his first appearance since his arrest on
Feb. 16 on suspicion of driving under the influence and resisting
an officer without violence. He is to be arraigned on March 16.

After the game, he refused to answer any non-baseball questions.
Cabrera said he is looking forward to playing the field, but
manager Jim Leyland said he will DH again Tuesday against Toronto,
then play the field Wednesday against Houston.

"It's kind of slow playing DH," Cabrera said. "I really
prefer playing at first. I was starting to feel normal in batting
practice, but I am looking forward to playing in the field."

Cabrera hit a sharp grounder down the third-base line in the
first off CC Sabathia, but Alex Rodriguez made a backhand grab and
threw out Cabrera out at first. Cabrera hit a similar ball in the
third, but Rodriguez made another backhand stab and retired Cabrera
at first. Cabrera drew a walk in his final at-bat and was removed
for a pinch runner.

Leyland said Cabrera looked to be in spring training form.
Cabrera hit .328 with 38 homers and 126 RBIs last season, finishing
second in AL MVP voting to Texas' Josh Hamilton.

"It's going to take some time to get ready," Leyland said.
"He'll be fine."

Cabrera was greeted warmly by fans before each at-bat.

"I heard the applause," Cabrera said. "It was good to get the
first game out of the way, but I can do better. I was thinking
about seeing strikes, but I heard the fans supporting me."

The game itself provided a likely preview of opening day on
March 31, when the teams meet at Yankee Stadium.

Sabathia allowed two hits and struck out two for the Yankees,
and Justin Verlander gave up two hits in two scoreless innings for
the Tigers. Sabathia said he felt fine following offseason to
repair a minor tear in his right knee.

"My fastball command was good, away. I still got to do some
work in to righties," he said. "Usually, it takes me a while to
get it. To have it pretty good this early, I can start working on
my other pitches. I felt great. My knee, no problems."

One-time Chicago Cubs star Mark Prior pitched a 1-2-3 inning
with a strikeout for New York. Prior, who hasn't pitched in the
major leagues since 2006, is trying to earn a job with the Yankees
as a long reliever.

"If I'm healthy, I know I can compete at this level," Prior
said.

Detroit scored two runs each against Daniel Turpen, Robert Fish,
and D.J. Mitchell in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.

Rick Porcello followed Verlander with two scoreless innings for
the Tigers. New York took a 2-0 lead in the fifth against rookie
Charlie Furbush, ending Detroit's 22-inning scoreless streak.

With the score tied 2-2, Cale Iorg homered to give the Tigers a
lead, and two batters later, Andy Dirks doubled home John Murrian.
Dirks went 2-for-2 and is batting .667.

Mark Teixeira, Jorge Vasquez, and Francisco Cervelli each had
two hits for the Yankees.

Game notes
New York C Russell Martin (right knee) was the DH in his
first spring training game. He is expects to catch Thursday or
Friday. ... Yankees OF Greg Golson said tests performed after he
was hit in the helmet by an A.J. Burnett pitch during batting
practice Sunday were negative. Golson said he never saw the ball
because of bright sunshine behind the CF fence. ... Tigers reliever
Daniel Schlereth left in the eighth inning after pulling his left
hamstring. He was helped off the field. Leyland said he didn't know
if Schlereth was upset by the pain or the frustration. He was
covering first when he felt a pop.