Cabrera learned early of Sandoval's talent
SAN FRANCISCO Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera got an early scouting report on the Giants' Pablo Sandoval.
The scout: Sandoval's older brother Michael, a teammate of Cabrera's when the triple crown winner was a teenager in Venezuela.
"He always told me his little brother was going to be good," Cabrera said Tuesday. "He was right."
Sandoval, meanwhile, recalled watching Cabrera play and thinking, "Just a great hitter." He said he's excited to face his countryman in the World Series, both coming from a place that will be well represented.
Neither team announced its World Series rosters Tuesday, but the Giants and Tigers combined to carry nine Venezuelan players on their rosters for the league championship series.
Joining Sandoval on the Giants were second baseman Marco Scutaro, the MVP of the NLCS, outfielder Gregor Blanco, reliever Jose Mijares and catcher Hector Sanchez.
"My friends on Twitter told me, we want you guys to win because I want to see a lot of Venezuelans playing in the World Series," Sandoval said.
Along with Cabrera, the Tigers' Avisail Garcia, Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez also hail from Venezuela, where Cabrera said he believes "baseball is a passion."
"We want to appreciate all the players who played in the past, who opened the doors to us to be here," Cabrera said. "We're trying to do what they did, trying to open more doors."
While interleague play has sapped some of the unfamiliarity from the clash of league styles in the World Series, it remains that the Tigers' pitchers will have to hit at AT&T Park in situations in which outs may be dear.
Neither of their starters in Games 1 and 2 has had much success at the plate. Justin Verlander is 0 for 24 with 14 strikeouts and nine sacrifices in 33 career plate appearances. Doug Fister is 2 for 10 with a double and an RBI.
"We've definitely taken (batting practice), really just to kind of focus on making sure we get those bunts down," Fister said. "It's not just a fun thing. It's a necessity and one of those things we have to execute because it's part of the game now."
The Giants, meanwhile, have not settled on a designated hitter for when the Series shifts to Detroit. Manager Bruce Bochy said he would wait until before Game 3 to make that decision.
A comeback from a 3-1 deficit in the NLCS against St. Louis got the Giants to the World Series. But Tigers manager Jim Leyland said he thought the Giants' rally from 2-0 down in the division series against Cincinnati "was probably more impressive."
"That's not to take anything away from the championship series," Leyland said. "But to be honest when they were down 0-2 going into Cincinnati, having to win three games, for me that was unbelievable. So nothing surprised me when they got to the championship series."