LAKELAND, Fla. -- As an uncertain Tigers club waited Friday morning to see what turn the Miguel Cabrera case will take next, manager Jim Leyland fiercely proclaimed that saga will have no bearing on his team and that Cabrera, "in the best shape of his life", remains primed for a great season.
"I think Miguel Cabrera is probably going to have the biggest year of his life," Leyland said Friday morning before the Tigers' pitchers and catchers worked out.
Cabrera, arrested for suspicion of drunken driving in Florida on Wednesday night, still is not in camp and it is not known when he will arrive. The Tigers do not hold their first full-squad workout until Saturday.
"It's not going to affect the team at all," Leyland said. "All of these people getting dramatic about this s---, all this negativity, it's not going to affect this team one bit. Trust me. That's all reading material. Everybody is going to get all upset, get real dramatic ... do you think Magglio Ordonez and those guys are going to go about their business any different?
"Nobody's going to do anything different. They're going to bust their ass. I know for a fact, without getting into this situation [in detail], I know for a fact that Miguel Cabrera is in the best shape of his life. He's stronger than he's ever been and he's quicker than he's ever been. It has no effect.
"It might make some dramatic reading material. Everybody's projecting all this crap, it's not going to do s--- along those lines. Believe me. Nothing."
Leyland had started his morning session with reporters by saying that he would not address the Cabrera situation, that general manager Dave Dombrowski would be the club spokesman on it. But he relented some when asked specifically about how Cabrera's troubles will affect the team.
As for the rest, Leyland said, "I'm not going to talk about that. Dave will speak for that. I'm the field manager. I manage the players on the field. Our clubhouse will be great, and our team has a hell of a chance to be an outstanding team, and that's going to have no bearing on that one way or another. Trust me when I tell you that.
"He's going to be welcomed with open arms by his teammates and they're going to want to see him hit that son of a bitch over the right-center field fence. I'm just telling you. So don't get all excited about 'Aw, I wonder what it's going to do in the clubhouse, to the chemistry, and all of that bulls----.'"