Redmond: Miggy played instrumental role

JUPITER, Fla. -- When Miguel Cabrera made his Major League debut at age 20, Mike Redmond was the Marlins' backup catcher. In June 2003, Cabrera was promoted from Double-A, and he made an immediate impact.

A third baseman at Double-A, Cabrera played left field. Manager Jack McKeon had no problems working Cabrera at third or in the outfield.

The additions of Cabrera and left-hander Dontrelle Willis were instrumental in the Marlins winning the National League Wild Card and the World Series.

Cabrera on Tuesday met up with Redmond again, this time as a player for Team Venezuela, which played the Marlins in an exhibition at Roger Dean Stadium.

"He was a special player for us when he came to the big leagues in 2003," Redmond said. "Obviously he and Dontrelle energized our team. We don't go to the playoffs without those two guys. I know Miggy, coming up, he got a lot of big hits for us.

"The stories I always tell about him is, the kid came up as a third baseman, and in the World Series, he was out there in left. Jack wasn't afraid to throw him out there in left -- and how well he did, people never talk about that. A 20-year-old coming up in the big leagues and you're asking him to play out of position. You never noticed him, because he was so good out there."

Cabrera came of age in the World Series, batting cleanup. He showed his toughness with a home run off Roger Clemens, after he was brushed back by a pitch.

"He hit a big home run off Roger Clemens, after Rocket knocked him down," Redmond said. "He took him deep the other way. Those are the things I remember. I just smile. He's had a tremendous career. He was a great guy, a great teammate."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter