1/24/2014 7:22 P.M. ET
Iglesias eager to serve during Tigers' Caravan
By Jason Beck / MLB.com
WARREN, Mich. -- Jose Iglesias has never had a job outside of baseball, growing up in Cuba. He was a phenom on the diamond at a young age.
The way he was fielding orders from customers at National Coney Island on Friday morning, keeping up with dishes as they flew in from the kitchen, it was hard to tell the inexperience.
"Is it this busy all day?" he asked workers as he hurried from counters to tables.
The answer is like so many on the Winter Caravan: It's never this busy unless the Tigers are around, though there were at least a few hungry patrons who walked in not knowing the Tigers were around.
"You can't order breakfast," he said half-jokingly when he spotted a reporter. "That was 20 minutes ago."
With Iglesias and teammate Torii Hunter waiting tables for an hour, and school out for the day due to the frigid conditions outside, the place was packed. Iglesias managed to stay up to speed.
"Absolutely," he said. "People are hungry. They can't wait."
Hunter pleaded at one point for everyone to be patient, though he didn't really need to. They didn't get any tips, but they didn't take any complaints, either.
Hunter took some chances to chat with diners and take pictures. He did not snack off the dishes.
"I can't eat much on the menu," Hunter lamented. "I can eat the greek salad that they have here. The chili cheese fries, all I can do is dream about that. When I smell it, it actually satisfies me, because I want it so bad."
Hunter has been in this kind of role before. He worked the counter for a stretch at a Dunkin' Donuts as part of last year's Winter Caravan. The Tigers' annual effort, he said, allowed him to see Detroit and its fans in a different light from his brief stops as a visiting player.
By contrast, this is new for Iglesias, a midseason acquisition from Boston at last year's non-waiver Trade Deadline. He arrived in the midst of a playoff race, and though he quickly became a familiar face in an everyday role at shortstop down the stretch, there wasn't much chance to see the personality.
At age 24, with five more years before free agency and one of the best gloves in the game, Iglesias likely isn't going anywhere. Thus, this Caravan became a chance for the Tigers to put Iglesias in the spotlight a little bit. Before he was serving up dishes Friday, he was a guest on the FOX 2 morning show and on 97.1 The Ticket.
He was taking it in, not even complaining about the snow or the cold.
"It's really a pleasure for me to be here and know my fans and where they come from and know how bad they want us to win," he said. "That will push me extra to do my best in the field."
Miggy: 'I'm good to go' for Spring Training
DETROIT -- Don't expect Miguel Cabrera to take it easy when Spring Training opens for position players in a few weeks. He's coming off core muscle surgery, but he says he'll be ready.
"I'm good to go," Cabrera said.
Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski seconded that -- not just as the boss, but an eyewitness.
"I saw him [Wednesday], actually, working out," Dombrowski said. "We had a function and I went downstairs to work out, run the treadmill and come back up. And Miguel Cabrera was working with our strength and conditioning guy, Javair Gillett.
"He can do everything. He feels fine. He tells me he has no pain. He's ready to go 100 percent. He looks great. He's not being held back whatsoever."
Frigid temps nothing new for Torii, Nathan
DETROIT -- The historically cold winter weather was a rude awakening for many Tigers players who flew in from warmer climates for the Winter Caravan, even though many thought they were prepared. Neither Joe Nathan nor Torii Hunter were about to gripe.
In fact, they laughed. They still remember their days on the Twins Winter Caravan.
"I pretend like this is tough," Hunter said, "but we had to go on the Winter Caravan [in Minnesota] for seven days in 22-below, in Fargo, way north into Canada. We were dying. This right here, two days?"
Nathan nodded in agreement.
"This is like summer," Nathan said.
Not all of their teammates were coming in from warmer weather, though. New Tigers reliever Ian Krol took a chance at the North American International Auto Show to express his sympathy.
"I come from Chicago," Krol told fans, "so I feel your pain."
Speaking of Minnesota, Hunter saw the last days of the Metrodome on television, watching highlights of that famous roof being deflated. His reaction, surprisingly, was similar to many around Detroit.
"Good riddance," said Hunter, who wasn't a fan of the artificial surface.