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Tigers believe Cabrera has a good chance at playing opening day

By Danny Knobler | Baseball Insider

LAKELAND, Fla. -- TheTigers seem optimistic that Miguel Cabrera will be ready for opening day.

Cabrera has been out since he was hit below the eye by a bad-hop ground ball last Monday. The first CT scan revealed a fractured bone, and the second scan would determine how quickly Cabrera is healing.

Cabrera is said to be in great spirits, and pushing to return soon. The belief seems to be that Cabrera will be able to return to playing third base right away, rather than coming back first as a designated hitter.

While the Tigers have had Brandon Inge play some third base in Cabrera's absence, they remain very open to trading Inge. His contract ($5.5 million), age (34) and poor play last year make a deal unlikely.

Meanwhile, the Tigers are still trying to choose their fifth starter. While they have monitored pitchers such as the Nationals' John Lannan this spring, the word is that they don't like Lannan and plan to pick one of the pitchers already in camp.

Some in the organization believe that the decision will come down to left-handers Andy Oliver and Drew Smyly, but manager Jim Leyland said that Duane Below is also a serious candidate. Below is starting for the Tigers Sunday in Tampa against the Yankees.

"We just have to make a decision based on everything we see, and the track records and everything else," Leyland said. "Who's the guy? Right now, we're right where we've been since the wintertime."

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