KANSAS CITY-- Coming into the 2010 season, manager Jim Leyland knew rookie Austin Jackson would be good. But no one could have predicted he would be this good this soon.
In his first full season with the Tigers, Jackson has played in 51 games and is batting .341 with an OBP of .387. Even more impressive than his offensive statistics are the flashes of greatness he's shown in center field. Most recently when he made an over-the-shoulder grab to keep Armando Galarraga's perfect game intact in the ninth inning.
Leyland said there is no limit to what Jackson can achieve if he continues working to get better.
"I think the key is going to be if he continues his work habits over his career, then he'll be a great center fielder," Leyland said. "If he's satisfied with where he's at and doesn't continue to work, he won't reach the potential that he has.
"He has the potential to be a tremendous center fielder and most of that is because of his concentration. If he maintains that, he will play second fiddle to nobody."
Guillen out of lineup vs. KC in opener
KANSAS CITY-- Carlos Guillen was not in the starting lineup Friday night for the opener of a three-game series against the Royals.
After leaving Thursday's game early with a sore toe, Guillen is day-to-day, but is still available off the bench. Manager Jim Leyland didn't want to push the 34-year-old switch hitter.
"He's available to pinch-hit if we need it," Leyland said. "If he happened to favor [his toe] and pop his hamstring, I'd feel stupid. So I don't want to do that. I'm assuming he will be ready [Saturday], but I can't swear to that."
Guillen hopes to be back in the starting lineup Saturday.
"It feels all right, and it should be better tomorrow," he said. "It's just a little sore."
Cabrera's numbers rise in KC
KANSAS CITY-- Miguel Cabrera and the Tigers may be kicking off a three-game road series against the Royals, but Cabrera feels right at home in Kansas City.
Coming into Friday night's game, Cabrera had a career average of .392 with eight homers and 28 RBIs in 24 games at Kauffman Stadium.
But to Cabrera, he doesn't care where he is, or what he hits even, as long as his team wins.
"To me, it's important to win games," he said. "I don't care about personal numbers. I care about winning games and that's it. I don't care if I come in here hitting .400, or even .500, if we're winning games, that's what matters."
It's hard to not notice Cabrera's numbers this season, though. At the start of Friday's game, Cabrera was leading the league in RBIs (51), tied for the lead in home runs (16) and third in the league in batting average (.352).
Manager Jim Leyland wouldn't speculate as to whether Cabrera would win Major League Baseball's Triple Crown, but he did discuss Cabrera as the MVP.
"I don't know if he will ever win an MVP, but I do know this," Leyland said, "going into the year every year, he's a candidate."
Leyland looks ahead after Galarraga gem
KANSAS CITY-- Tigers manager Jim Leyland is "perfect gamed out."
After Armando Galarraga lost his perfect game with two outs in the ninth due to a blown call from umpire Jim Joyce, the Tigers have been through a whirlwind. And Leyland is ready for it to end.
Leyland emphatically stated to a group of reporters that he was done talking about the near perfect game. He did, however, make one final statement.
"I was so proud of the Detroit fans yesterday," he said. "It was absolutely tremendous. I'm very proud of Galarraga. ... It was handled good by everybody, and I'm glad it's over. I'm not even thinking about it today. The best part of the whole deal was that we won some games."
Leyland expressed that in baseball, you have to have a short memory about things like that.
"You have to move on," Leyland said. "The next day, you learn how to get back in the fight. That's just the way it is, and if you can't do that, then you can't manage here. You can't chew yesterday's breakfast."
Samuel Zuba is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.