You can’t blame Asdrubal Cabrera from asking out of Sunday’s game in Miami. At 31, he’s not getting any younger and frankly he wants to stay healthy.
Health, though, was last year’s issue as the shortstop battled knee problems all season. “It was really tough on me,” Cabrera said to NY Sports Day in an exclusive interview. “You have to know how to play sore all the time. It was really hard.”
At the plate, Cabrera seemed fine, hitting .280 with 23 homers and 62 RBI, but it really affected him in the field, where he lost some motion and movement.
But Cabrera persevered and you must wonder what he will do, since the Venezuelan says he’s fully healthy.
More importantly, he doesn’t seem to be slowing down either. Ever since he came to the Mets as a free agent two winters ago, Cabrera blended in. In fact, he worked extremely well with second baseman Neil Walker, who made a perfect double play partner.
“Me and Neil Walker, we have played this game for a little bit and he’s a great second baseman,” Cabrera said. “He knows how to play the game. We worked in spring training a little bit and that’s why are so comfortable over there.”
Former Indian meet former Pirate. Cleveland and Pittsburgh are generally two cities that aren’t supposed to get along, but they made beautiful music together in Queens.
And when you bring in a Jose Reyes at third to replace an ailing David Wright, the Mets have the makings of a solid infield.
“It doesn’t matter, who’s at third.” Cabrera said and then thought about if Reyes helped him at third. “It was hard to say because we have David Wright too and he’s a great third baseman. It’s about the same.”
More than just homers and defense, the Mets also have an old pro. Last week in Philadelphia after getting thrown at by Edubray Ramos, in retaliation for a bat flip last season, he just brushed it off.
“I didn’t even know the guy that was who I hit the walk-off,” Cabrera said. “I just found out after the game.”
Sure, he did. But Cabrera wasn’t going to give a young pitcher who head hunted any credit.
This is why manager Terry Collins wants to keep Cabrera 100 percent. Consistency and leadership from the infield, which was left so decimated by injury last year.
“Ever since he’s been there, he really has settled things down,” said manager Terry Collins. “The balls hit to him are outs I know one thing he can be dangerous and that’s why we are trying to get him days off here, so he keeps his legs strong. We wanted off the day game on Sunday and I’m glad he got it and now the next six games those guys have to grind it out before we have another day off.”
You don’t have to ask Cabrera twice, since he lost about a month last year due to injury and he seemed to be the fortunate one.
Which is why everyone is looking forward to this season where the team is pretty much healthy.
“It was really hard to lose those guys,” Cabrera said. “In the end, we did a really good job too. We lost a lot of starting pitchers. We did the job and we did well with them.
“We have the team we want and we are very healthy right now. We have a really good team. We have a good team and a good bench too. Everybody knows what they have to do.”
And that starts right at shortstop.