Miguel Cabrera rebuffs White Sox’ sign-stealing accusation: ‘We don’t play that game’

Miguel Cabrera took issue with White Sox rookie Nick Madrigal’s accusations Wednesday, saying the second baseman’s warnings to pitcher Lucas Giolito and catcher Yasmani Grandal that signs were being stolen Tuesday night were unfounded.

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Miguel Cabrera took issue with White Sox rookie Nick Madrigal’s accusations of sign stealing.

Miguel Cabrera took issue with White Sox rookie Nick Madrigal’s accusations of sign stealing.

Kamil Krzaczynski/AP

Tigers star Miguel Cabrera took issue with rookie Nick Madrigal’s accusations Wednesday, saying the second baseman’s warning to pitcher Lucas Giolito and catcher Yasmani Grandal that signs were being stolen during the White Sox’ 5-2 loss Tuesday at Guaranteed Rate Field were unfounded.

Talking to Tigers media on a Zoom call before the game was rained out Wednesday, Cabrera, who hit a 445-foot home run in the first inning, jawed with Madrigal during the sixth inning while Robbie Grossman was on second base. Cabrera didn’t mince words.

“It was the second baseman,” Cabrera said. “He tried to tell the catcher and the pitcher that we passed the signs. I mean, come on, that’s some bull----. I don’t play that game. You need to respect the game. You don’t need to show up me or the runner on second, trying to say we passed the sign from second. Come on, get the [heck] out of here.”

Tigers manager AJ Hinch was fired by the Astros and suspended by MLB in 2020 for his role as the team’s manager in an elaborate video sign-stealing scandal. It was suggested to Cabrera that Hinch’s history might have heightened the Sox’ awareness of stealing signs, even from the bases.

“I don’t care why they’re doing it, but they need to stop because we don’t play that game,” Cabrera said. “That’s why I said something to him right away.”

Cabrera said his concern Tuesday was that the Tigers might face retaliation at the plate on Wednesday.

“Everybody is paranoid about [sign-stealing] right now, but [the Sox] are over the limit. They need to respect that. If we didn’t say that, the next day we’re going to be hit by a pitch or something like that. And we don’t play that game, we respect the game.”

Sox manager Tony La Russa said he respects Cabrera’s take but also said it’s Madrigal’s job as a middle infielder to be vigilant about sign stealing.

“Miguel is a guaranteed Hall of Famer, he’s earned the respect and if he says he’s not getting help from second base, then he’s not getting it,” La Russa said. “But we do encourage our middle infielders to actively be guarding because that is a ridiculously popular thing to have, to do now, has been for a long time, whether it’s signs that you’ve learned over your study or tipping location, which is OK because that’s part of the game.

“If Nick was actively defending against that then I’m all for it. But I give Miguel the respect he deserves. If he says he doesn’t get signs then he doesn’t get them.”

Robert might return Thursday

Luis Robert passed his coronavirus tests and might play Thursday, La Russa said. The center fielder landed on the injured list for precautionary reasons Tuesday after not feeling well.

“There’s a solid chance that we can activate him [Thursday],” La Russa said.

Grandal’s struggle

Grandal, batting .122/.283/.286, was not in the lineup for the rained out game Wednesday with Zack Collins catching. La Russa is not concerned about the team’s highest-paid player.

“You’ll see the hitter that he is,” La Russa said. “It’s one of the anomalies that happen during the season, and that’s why at the end of six months Yaz will be where his career says he’s going to be.”

Grandal and Collins will split the doubleheader Thursday.

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