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Repoz
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Jays Newsbeat

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Kepner: The true Melky Cabrera, so the Blue Jays hope

As Billy Welu and his yellow-speckled jawline used to say…“Trust is a must, or your game is a bust!”

This is old news, and all parties swiftly moved on: The Giants won the World Series without Cabrera; Major League Baseball, at Cabrera’s request, removed him from consideration for a batting title he otherwise would have won; and the Blue Jays signed him to a two-year, $16 million contract — theoretically more than he would have made without cheating, but less than he would have made had he not been caught.

Now Cabrera is playing for a contract again, and playing very well, after a 2013 ruined by injuries. What does it all mean?

“As his teammate,” starter R. A. Dickey said, “I feel like I have to take it at face value, and face value is that he’s been tested many times. I’ve even seen him tested a lot this year, and it hasn’t come back for anything. So I’d have to say that he served his penalty and he owned up to it — gave back his batting title, all that stuff, and he’s trying to do it the right way now.

“He wasn’t healthy last year. The hope is that what we’re seeing now is authentically who he is. I’m certainly going to believe the best about him.”

Cabrera, a Dominican native, has always been quiet and somewhat shy in public, and his interpreter was not available in Boston to conduct an interview. But Cabrera’s back says a lot about his journey. A tattoo with the M.L.B. logo, applied when he was still in the minors, adorns his shoulder blade. A scar on his lower back, along his spine, reveals the trauma of 2013.

Cabrera, 29, struggled all season with leg injuries that defied explanation. Tests routinely came back negative.

“They couldn’t find anything,” Gibbons said, “just normal wear and tear, so nobody knew what it was. Of course, all you’d hear is, ‘Well, the year before, he was on steroids, so maybe this is the aftereffect of that.’ But it shouldn’t affect you that much.”

Gibbons added: “He couldn’t run, man. Balls were dropping in. We talk about how much our pitching struggled last year, but, shoot, if there was a ball airborne out there, we weren’t getting it. And it finally got to the point we had to shut him down. So he’s rehabbing down in Florida, his back started hurting him and he went and got an M.R.I. — walnut-size tumor, right on his spine.”

Cabrera told reporters this spring that he initially feared for his life. But the tumor was found to be benign, and now that he moves better, he hits better, too. Cabrera earned a degree of skepticism by the choices that led to his suspension, but Bautista said Cabrera deserved credit, not suspicion, for the way he was playing.

Repoz Posted: May 25, 2014 at 09:01 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: jays, steroids

 

 

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