Instead of honing his swing this off-season, Miguel Cabrera focused on getting sober.
"My drinking was a problem, and I feel good without it. I feel like a new man," he said Thursday.
The Detroit Tigers slugger spent three months in an outpatient treatment program for alcoholism following a much-publicized drinking binge during the final weekend of last season, a program that General Manager Dave Dombrowski said will continue into spring training and the upcoming season.
"I've worked very hard with my doctors and my family this winter, and I'm going to keep working," Cabrera said as the Tigers started their Winter Caravan through Michigan.
Cabrera said he has turned his life around. He said he hasn't had a drink since he was taken into custody by police after a domestic-abuse complaint was filed by his wife in the early morning of Oct. 3 -- hours before a crucial game against the Chicago White Sox.
The All-Star first baseman with a $152.3-million contract got drunk enough between Friday night's game and Saturday morning to have what police said was a 0.26 blood-alcohol reading -- three times above Michigan's legal limit for driving -- and a bruised and cut left cheek.
One of St. Louis' most prominent citizens, Adolphus A. Busch IV, came out swinging against Cardinals hitting coach Mark McGwire in a public statement over McGwire's admission that he used steroids.
Busch, whose family sold the Cardinals to a group headed by Bill DeWitt Jr. in 1995, said:
"McGwire is not apologizing for his deceit, only for the embarrassment that came from his admission of having previously lied," Busch said. "The timing of his announcement at the start of a new baseball season has allowed him to hide behind the frenzy of a new Cardinal season and the blinding faith of Cardinal loyalists."
Hall of Fame pitcher Ferguson Jenkins said this week that McGwire owes an apology to all of the pitchers whom he hit home runs against.
-- Phil Rogers Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners have completed a $78-million, five-year deal that averts an arbitration hearing and keeps the young ace under contract through 2014. . . . Joe Blanton and the Philadelphia Phillies have agreed to a $24-million, three-year contract that avoided a salary arbitration hearing next month.
Celtics' Davis is fined
Boston Celtics forward Glen "Big Baby" Davis has been fined $25,000 for directing inappropriate language at a fan.
NBA executive vice president of operations Stu Jackson announced the fine Thursday.
Davis was fined for language he used when addressing a fan during the second quarter of Boston's 92-86 loss to the Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Wednesday.
Plushenko wins gold
Evgeni Plushenko aced his last major test before seeking a second consecutive Olympic gold next month by winning the European figure skating championships at Tallinn, Estonia.
East Carolina has turned to former Texas Tech defensive coordinator, and Pirates alum, Ruffin McNeill to replace Skip Holtz as head coach.
McNeill spent 10 seasons at Texas Tech as an assistant, then served as interim coach when Mike Leach was suspended and later fired.
The University of California has approved a $321-million renovation of Berkeley's Memorial Stadium.
The project is expected to be completed by the start of the 2012 football season. The stadium will be closed during Cal's 2011 season, when the team will play at another location.
The Tecate Light Invitational, a Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series event, will be held at the Honda Center tonight through Sunday. Competition begins at 8 tonight, 6 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets: (800) 745-3000.
The LA Lights Rhythmic Invitational Gymnastics tournament is being held through Sunday at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Culver City. Former Olympians and world champions are competing in what is described as the nation's largest rhythmic gymnastics event.