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Tigers slugger Cabrera says he's giving up alcohol

Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera wants to clear a few things up after the ugly incident last fall, right before his team surrendered the American League Central Division title to the Twins.

First, he's done drinking alcohol. And he's not an alcoholic.

"You guys write in the paper 'alcoholic,' that's not right," the Detroit first baseman said Moonday before the Tigers' morning workout at spring training in Lakeland, Fla. "I don't know how to explain, but it's not an alcohol problem."

Five months ago, Cabrera went 0-for-4 and stranded six runners in a 5-1 tiebreaker loss to Chicago. That game started about 12 hours after Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski picked him up at a police station after a fight with his wife - apparently after a late night out.

The All-Star first baseman with a $152.3-million contract had what police said was a 0.26 blood-alcohol reading - Michigan's legal limit for driving is 0.08 - and a bruised and cut left cheek.

Cabrera apologized to his teammates for being drunk on a weekend while the Tigers were trying to hang on to the lead in the AL Central. They later lost the division in a tiebreaker game against Minnesota. The 26-year-old Cabrera spent much of the winter undergoing counseling. He said he has quit drinking and doesn't miss it.

Minors restrict maple bats

Many of the maple baseball bats used in the minor leagues will be banned this season and the reason is safety. Major League Baseball has been studying maple bats that shatter easily and endanger fans, players and umpires. New rules this year ban bats made of ultralight maple that are more likely to break and send debris flying.

MLB sometimes implements a rule at the minor-league level before it takes effect in the majors.

Also as part of baseball's safety push, any big leaguer whose bat broke at least 10 times last year must consult with a panel of bat experts.

- AP

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