LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers have no shortage of star pitchers who reported to Spring Training well ahead of Thursday's official reporting date. That's no different than previous years. The superstar slugger who reported at the start of the week made a bigger impact with his arrival.
Miguel Cabrera has been around all week, taking advantage of the field availability and weight room at Joker Marchant Stadium to get an early start to his spring workouts. It's not that he needs the extra rehab work. In fact, he says he feels fine. To compare it to last season, when he battled through a groin tear for much of the stretch run, left him smiling.
"Oh my god, I feel free, like I can do anything right now," Cabrera said Wednesday. "I don't worry about anything. I don't worry if it's going to hurt, if it's going to feel good if I do this. I feel free, ready to go."
Cabrera underwent core muscle surgery at the end of October to repair the damage. He felt the difference within days, he said, and was cleared for full activity earlier this offseason. The one difference in his routine is an increase in exercises to strengthen his core muscles.
"I've gotten a lot stronger," he said. "I've tried to make sure everything's going to be good when I start baseball. That's what I do differently."
Cabrera's lack of worries apparently includes his contract situation. He has two years left on the deal he signed six years ago. That's normally the time when many teams approach star players about contract extensions, when free agency is still far enough away that long-term security has an appeal.
Cabrera indicated there's nothing going on just yet, but he isn't concerned. With two years left on his contract, he said, they have plenty of time to work on a new deal.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.