This is an article from the April 20, 2009 issue
Feeling settled in Detroit, slugger Miguel Cabrera began the second season of his eight-year, $153 million contract with some serious banging: three homers, 10 RBIs and a .520 batting average over seven games. "He's awful good," assessed Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who's especially grateful that Cabrera's on a tear. Last season Detroit started 0--7. This year? 4--3.
Actually, they're goalies by trade, and they do good work. Rookie Steve Mason (right) carried the Blue Jackets to their first postseason spot, while Chris Mason paved the way to the Blues' first playoff appearance in four years. Said Chris, "It's hard to comprehend at this point."
Florida was hitting (.279; more than six runs a game) and pitching (unbeaten ace Josh Johnson had an 0.57 ERA), and at 5--1 through Monday the NL East co-leaders controlled their destiny: If they can just win the rest of their games, they're in the playoffs!
Two years after his last tournament win the 28-year-old Australian swept Wayne Odesnik at the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship. Next up, a milestone. Hewitt needs one more match victory to reach the 500 in his career.
Oh, restless heart. Manny Ramirez is the toast of L.A., Chavez Ravine's do-ragged messiah—and seven games and zero home runs into his new contract he was already imagining a better place. He told USA Today that he'd like to end his playing days in Cleveland. So much for "I think I'll play here the remainder of my career," Manny's words upon joining the Dodgers last summer.
The 41-year-old goalie's fine career may be done after he was 5-9-1 with an .869 saves percentage for the out-of-the-playoffs Maple Leafs in 2008--09. But he did leave a mark that will endure: CuJo lost his last start of the season, tying Gump Worsley's NHL record of 352 career L's.
Boy, was it getting late early. By the home opener in D.C. on Monday, Washington was 0--6 and trailing the Braves and the Marlins by five games. (The Nats' tragic number for playoff elimination: 152.) The banged-up club had left 55 men on base, and, said manager Manny Acta, "You end up paying for it."
The former middleweight champ took two years off, then came back ... for this? In Las Vegas last Saturday, Wright absorbed 250 punches in 12 rounds from Paul (the Punisher) Williams and lost, unanimously.
SI PLAYERS NHL POLL
Would you want Sean Avery on your team?
After Avery, a left wing, joined the Rangers on March 5, the team went 11-6-1, including three straight season-ending wins to clinch the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.... Avery had been cut loose by the Stars after serving an NHL suspension for making lewd comments about other players' girlfriends.... A premier agitator (SI, Jan. 12), Avery's latest skirmish came on April 4 when he was charged by Bruins goalie Tim Thomas after, as Thomas later claimed, Avery tapped him on the back of the helmet with his stick during a TV timeout.
[Based on a survey of 324 NHL players] • For more on the poll, and to comment on it, go to SI.com/bonus.