Cabrera was named last week to a star-studded roster that will represent Major League Baseball in Taiwan next month to face the Chinese Taipei national team in the 2011 Taiwan All-Star Series. He's scheduled to join former Tigers teammate Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, Pablo Sandoval, Michael Morse and others in the five-game series, spread out over three different cities from Nov. 1-6.
The first round of roster announcements came last week, with the condition that it was subject to postseason commitments. Cardinals outfielder Skip Schumaker was named to the roster, for instance, but might not make it now that St. Louis is headed to the World Series. Had the Tigers gotten to the Fall Classic, Cabrera might well have bowed out. As long as he's healthy, though, he now has the time.
It'll be a unique opportunity for Cabrera to spread his name internationally, much like Granderson has over the past several years as an MLB ambassador. Though Cabrera has long since established himself as one of baseball's most dangerous hitters, the native Venezuelan's international fame has been limited to the World Baseball Classic.
Cabrera's trip to the Far East follows a season in which he earned his first AL batting title -- hitting .344, with a league-best .448 on-base percentage and an AL-high 48 doubles. His 1.033 OPS fell just nine points shy of his career high from last year, and was accompanied by 30 home runs and 105 RBIs. He went 8-for-20 in the ALCS, with four doubles, three homers, seven RBIs and seven walks -- resulting in a stunning .556 on-base percentage.
He hit three homers in the final two games of the series, while nursing a shoulder injury he sustained when he tried to bowl over Rangers catcher Mike Napoli at home plate in Game 4. He indicated the injury was muscular, rather than structural, and that it didn't impact his swing so much as it hindered his throws.