Jim Leyland won’t be removing Miguel Cabrera from games for defensive purposes

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Publicly at least the Tigers have been saying good things about Miguel Cabrera’s transition back to third base this spring and yesterday manager Jim Leyland took it a step further by reiterating that Cabrera will not be removed from regular season games in the late innings for a better defender.

“He’s the third baseman,” Leyland told Jason Beck of MLB.com. “That’s the way it is and I’m not ‘defensing’ for him. I’ve seen that too many times.”

Leyland is referring to the times when an excellent hitter is removed from the game for a better defender only to have his lineup spot come to the plate again in a key spot, which is most often an issue during the playoffs when over-managing is far more common.

Leyland sounds very committed to not taking Cabrera out of games defensively, but he’ll be tempted on a daily basis thanks to Brandon Inge and/or Ramon Santiago likely being on the bench most games.