Detroit Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera could make history against the New York Yankees on Thursday afternoon.
Cabrera came into Wednesday’s home game and singled his first three at-bats to reach 2,999 career hits. He struck out in his final at-bat but will be in the lineup again for the series finale, looking for No. 3000.
He will become the 33rd member of the 3,000 hit club and the seventh player in major-league history to have both 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, joining Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray, Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Pujols, and Alex Rodriguez. Cabrera hit his 500th homer last season.
“It’s a cool atmosphere. We’re all rooting for him,” manager A.J. Hinch said after the Tigers’ 5-3 loss on Wednesday. “It will be a big moment when it comes. As you can see with Miggy, when he puts some good at-bats together, he can put some hits together quickly.”
Cabrera was disappointed he didn’t deliver in his final at-bat with his club down two runs.
“That’s a special moment (to reach 3,000) but at the same time, I’ve got to do my job and get on base in that situation because I was leadoff in that inning,” he said.
Cabrera’s bid for history will overshadow Michael Pineda’s Tigers debut against one of his former teams.
Pineda, 33, was signed to a one-year contract as a free agent during training camp and has made two starts at Triple-A Toledo to build his arm strength.
Pineda made two starts for the Mud Hens, allowing four runs in 6 1/3 innings. Pineda was part of the Yankees/rotation from 2014-17. He’s been part of Minnesota’s starting staff the past three seasons. A year ago, he made 22 appearances (21 starts) and posted a 9-8 record and 3.62 ERA.
“It’ll be good to get Big Mike out there and back in his routine and get him on the mound,” Hinch said. “He’s had an abbreviated spring, even counting the minor league starts. But he’s ready to go. He’s happy, so that’s a good thing.”
Pineda has made three career starts against the Yankees, posting an 0-1 record and 5.02 ERA.
Yankees scheduled starter Jordan Montgomery (0-0, 3.24 ERA) has made two starts, giving up three runs in 8 1/3 innings. He won his only career start against Detroit in 2018.
In his last outing, Montgomery tossed five scoreless innings against Baltimore on Friday.
The Yankees are hoping a quick break helped struggling left fielder Joey Gallo. He didn’t start on Wednesday after striking out four times in the series opener on Tuesday. Gallo, who entered Wednesday’s game as a defensive replacement, has just four singles in 33 at-bats.
“I just felt like today was a good day, a little pressing going on (Tuesday),” manager Aaron Boone said of his decision to sit Gallo. “You have six or seven games where I felt like he was actually swinging the bat pretty well, not getting the results, and then you have a game where you struggle a little bit.”
Gallo batted just .160 in 58 regular-season games last season with the Yankees after being acquired from Texas. He hit 38 homers in 153 games between the two teams and reached the 40-homer mark twice in his career.
“I know I haven’t been getting great results right now,” Gallo said. “It’s part of the process of playing the full season and what not. There’s guys playing really well, helping us win games. So I think that it’s more important that these guys are going to help us win while I’m figuring it out.”
–Field Level Media