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As a 20-year-old rookie in 2003, Cabrera helped the Marlins win the World Series. The cash-strapped franchise traded him to Detroit in an eight-player deal after the 2007 season because it couldn’t afford to pay him $20-plus million over the following two seasons, or even more when he was to become a free agent after the 2009 season.

Detroit kept Cabrera off the free-agent market once before, when they gave him that $152.3 million deal in 2008.

The Tigers have moved Cabrera back to first base to replace Fielder after he played third base the previous two seasons. Former manager Jim Leyland has said Cabrera is talented enough to become a complete player.

“Hopefully someday when he goes to Cooperstown, people won’t just say he was one hell of a hitter,” Leyland once said.

The Tigers appear confident that Cabrera’s off-the-field problems are behind him.

He pleaded no contest to drunken driving after being arrested in February 2011 in Florida. Charges of resisting an officer without violence and having an open container in a vehicle were dropped.

Near the end of the 2009 season, when Detroit was trying to win its first division title in more than two decades, Cabrera got into a fight with his wife that became public knowledge. He had a bruised and cut face the following morning when general manager Dave Dombrowski picked him up at a police station.

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AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this report.