|Toronto Blue Jays – No. 53|
August 11, 1984 |
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
|Bats: Switch||Throws: Left|
|July 7, 2005 for the New York Yankees|
(through May 18, 2013)
|Runs batted in||431|
|Career highlights and awards|
Melky Astacio Cabrera (born August 11, 1984) is a Dominican professional baseball outfielder for the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball. He has previously played for the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants.
Cabrera signed with the Yankees as an amateur free agent. He made his MLB debut for the Yankees in 2005. After playing as a fourth outfielder, the Yankees included him in a trade to the Braves after the 2009 season. Struggling with the Braves in 2010, he was released, and signed by the Royals in 2011. Recommitting himself to the game, Cabrera had a strong year with the Royals, and was traded to the Giants for the 2012 season. In 2012, Cabrera made his first All-Star Game appearance, winning the All-Star Game MVP Award. One month later, Cabrera received a 50 game suspension after testing positive for high levels of testosterone.
Baseball career 
New York Yankees (2002–2009) 
Cabrera was signed by the New York Yankees on November 14, 2001, at age 17, receiving a $175,000 signing bonus. He played for the Staten Island Yankees in the Class A Short-Season New York–Penn League in 2003, batting .283 with 31 runs batted in (RBI) in 67 games. In 2004, he was promoted to the Battle Creek Yankees of the Class A Midwest League, hitting .333 with 16 RBIs in 42 games. He was promoted to the Tampa Yankees of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League, where he hit .288 with 51 RBIs in 85 games to finish the season.
2005 - Major League debut 
In 2005, Cabrera started off with the Trenton Thunder of the Double-A Eastern League, hitting .2675 with 60 RBIs in 106 games. At the end of June, he was promoted to the Columbus Clippers of the Triple-A International League, where he hit .324 with three homers and 11 RBIs in nine games. On July 7, he made his major league debut in center field at Yankee Stadium against the Cleveland Indians. He collected his first major league hit, a single, in his third at-bat that day. The next day he went 2-for-3 against Cleveland Indians pitcher Cliff Lee, scoring his first major league run, but then went 0-for-his- next-13 and made costly miscues, including one on July 15 against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, misplaying a Trot Nixon fly ball that resulted in an inside-the-park home run during a 17–1 defeat. He was sent down to Columbus the next day for 17 games and then demoted again, back to Trenton to finish out the season.
Cabrera saw a lot of time in spring training of 2006 with starting outfielders Johnny Damon and Bernie Williams playing in the World Baseball Classic. He impressed the Yankees by hitting .349 in 16 games, but was ultimately sent down to Columbus at the start of the season.
He started the season strongly at Columbus, hitting .385 with 4 home runs and 24 RBIs in just 31 games before being called up on May 9 after left fielder Hideki Matsui broke his wrist and was on the disabled list until September 12. Cabrera replaced him in left field, and hit .318 in May with his first 10 career RBIs and two career stolen bases. On May 30, batting leadoff for just the second time in his career, he recorded his first career 4-hit game, going 4-for-6. He slumped in June, but hit his first major league home run on June 15. On June 6, in the 8th inning of a 2–1 game against the Red Sox, he made an outstanding catch in left-center, leaping over the wall to take a home run away from Boston slugger Manny Ramírez. This play earned Cabrera a "This Year In Baseball" award (voted on by the fans) for the outstanding play of the 2006 season.
Cabrera heated up again in July, hitting .313 with 14 RBIs. He had his first career five-RBI game on July 5, with his first career grand slam. On the 18th, he hit his first career walk-off home run. At 22, he was the second youngest Yankee ever to hit a walk-off home run, to the 21-year old Mickey Mantle in 1953. He finished the 2006 season tied for second in the league with 12 outfield assists.
Cabrera was slotted as fourth outfielder at the beginning of the 2007 season. He struggled, batting .200 in April and .254 in May in limited playing time. He was batting .223 on the season when Jason Giambi went on the disabled list on June 1, giving him more playing time as Damon assumed Giambi's role of designated hitter and Cabrera took over center field from Damon. After this, he hit .320 with 3 of his 5 home runs and 21 of his 36 RBIs. He also had a 13-game hitting streak from July 1 to July 17. While Bobby Abreu was struggling that month, Cabrera hit second to enable Derek Jeter to hit third and cemented himself as the Yankees' starting center fielder, causing Giambi to compete with Damon for DH at-bats after returning from the DL. Cabrera had a career-high hitting streak of 19 games, while continued to get his share of walks. Prior to the July 31 trade deadline, the Texas Rangers offered Yankee GM Brian Cashman their closer, Éric Gagné, in exchange for Cabrera, but Cashman declined and Cabrera went on to tie for third in outfield assists (16) for the season.
Cabrera was involved in a bench-clearing brawl against the Tampa Bay Rays in a 2008 spring training game. MLB claimed to have seen video showing Cabrera punching superstar Tampa third baseman Evan Longoria during the brawl, and suspended him for two games along with teammate Shelley Duncan. Third base coach Bobby Meacham and hitting coach Kevin Long were also fined for their actions in the brawl.
Cabrera was a less-than-adequate hitter for the Yankees in 2008. His fielding and strong throwing arm in center field could not make up for his poor batting average. In early August, Yankee manager Joe Girardi demoted him to fourth outfielder, making Damon the everyday center fielder again. On August 15, they sent him down to their Triple-A affiliate, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, but recalled him on September 5.
After the 2008 season, the Yankees came close to trading Cabrera to the Milwaukee Brewers for veteran outfielder. Mike Cameron. Remaining with the Yankees, Cabrera competed with Brett Gardner for the starting center field job which Gardner won, relegating Cabrera to a backup role by manager Girardi once again. On April 22, however, Cabrera hit the first walk-off hit in the New Yankee Stadium, a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 14th, for a 9-7 Yankee win. By late April, with Gardner slumping and Cabrera's streak of stellar play, Cabrera once again became the starting center fielder. He won the Major League Baseball Clutch Performer of the Month of May.
On August 2, he became the first Yankee to hit for the cycle since Tony Fernandez on September 3, 1995. The home run was his 10th of the season, a new personal high. He also collected his 200th career RBI in the game, and finished the season by playing in his first World Series with the Yankees and helping them defeat the Philadelphia Phillies, four games to two.
Atlanta Braves (2010) 
On December 22, 2009, the Yankees traded Cabrera to the Atlanta Braves with Mike Dunn and pitching prospect Arodys Vizcaino for Javier Vázquez and Boone Logan, with whom he signed a one-year deal worth $3.1 million with the Braves, avoiding arbitration.
Cabrera hit .255 with 4 home runs and 42 RBIs in 115 games for the 2010 Braves, and went 0-for-8 in the 2010 NLDS against the San Francisco Giants, who won the series three games to one. He batted eighth for the Braves  and was described as "pudgy" and not diligent enough about his career to keep his weight down. The Braves released him on October 19.
Kansas City Royals (2011) 
In his 2011 breakout season, he set career highs in RBIs (87), runs scored (102), stolen bases (20), home runs (18) and batting average (.305), while finishing fourth in the American League in hits with 201  and becoming the sixth Royal to record at least 200 hits in a season.
San Francisco Giants (2012) 
On November 7, 2011, the Royals traded Cabrera to the San Francisco Giants for talented but erratic southpaw Jonathan Sánchez and minor league pitcher Ryan Verdugo, seeking to bolster their starting rotation and free up center field for Lorenzo Cain.
Cabrera started 2012 with a .275 career average, but on May 29 he surpassed Willie Mays for most hits in the month of May in San Francisco Giants history with 50. The next night, he tied Randy Winn's San Francisco record for most hits in any month with 51.
His hot hitting earned him one of the three starting outfielder positions for the 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Kansas City with 7,521,784 votes, the highest number received by a National League (NL) outfielder that year. He singled in the first and hit a two-run homer in the fourth (the only round-tripper of the game) and was voted the All-Star Game MVP in the NL's 8-0 shutout win, going 2-for-3 with the two RBIs. He was the fifth Giant player to be honored as All-Star Game MVP.
On August 15, however, Cabrera's season came to a sudden end when he was suspended for 50 games without pay after testing positive for high levels of testosterone, suggesting usage of MLB-proscribed performance-enhancing drugs. He admitted using a banned substance and accepted the suspension. At the time, he led the majors with 159 hits and was second in the NL with a .346 batting average. He ended his suspension-shortened season with 11 home runs, 10 triples, 60 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 18 chances. One of Cabrera's associates purchased a website for $10,000 and faked its contents in a way that would have allowed Cabrera to challenge his suspension by claiming that the positive test was caused by a substance sold through that website. But MLB officials and federal investigators used forensics to trace the website back to Cabrera. At his own request, Cabrera was ruled ineligible to win the 2012 NL batting title.[a]
Although the suspension expired as the Giants advanced to the NLCS, the second round of the playoffs, he remained on the restricted list until his team won the 2012 World Series over the Detroit Tigers and released him the next day (October 29), making him a free agent. Despite his suspension, Cabrera received a 2012 World Series ring for his contributions to the team before his suspension.
Toronto Blue Jays (2013-present) 
Cabrera signed a two-year contract for $16 million with the Toronto Blue Jays on November 19, 2012. In a game against the Detroit Tigers on April 9, 2013, Cabrera recorded his 1,000th career hit, a single off starter Anibal Sanchez.
Personal life 
In the offseason, Cabrera lives in Miami. Cabrera and Robinson Canó became close friends as teammates in the minor leagues. Cabrera has a son in the Dominican Republic, Melky, Jr., and two daughters who live with their mothers in New York and Orlando.
Cabrera keeps an open Bible in his locker and reads a passage in it before he takes the field. He once said, "I don't consider myself a Christian but I do know you have to believe in God. You have to believe you're here for a reason. That's why I'm always reading the Bible."
His nickname around the Yankee clubhouse was "Leche", which is Spanish for "milk." Radio announcer John Sterling celebrated Cabrera's home runs with a call of "The Melkman delivers." As a Giant he had cheering section of uniformed milkmen and milkmaids in the AT&T Park stands during his record 51 hits in May 2012.
He is involved in charity work in his native Dominican Republic.
See also 
- Cabrera's 501 plate appearances were one short of the minimum to qualify, but Rule 10.22(a) would have allowed him to qualify by adding the needed extra at-bat when calculating his batting average. The rule would have made him the batting champion instead of teammate Buster Posey, who batted .336.
- Mccarron, Anthony (2004-08-22). "Yanks look to travel Melky way". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2012-07-11.
- Madden, Bill (2005-07-03). "Yankees Going Melky Way. Cabrera On Center Stage In Bombers' Future Plan". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2012-07-11.
- The Associated Press. "Cabrera makes history as latest center fielder". recordonline.com. Retrieved 2012-07-11.
- Feinsand, Mark (2050-07-07). "Yankees promote prospect Cabrera". Newyork.yankees.mlb.com. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- Feinsand, Mark (2005-07-07). "Yanks ride long balls to victory | yankees.com: News". Newyork.yankees.mlb.com. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- Everson, Darren (2005-07-10). "Melky Muff Costs Yanks Bad Day For Rookie". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2012-07-11.
- Borden, Sam (2005-08-05). "Carl Set To Return Tuesday". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2012-07-11.
- Feinsand, Mark (2006-05-30). "Yanks beat Tigers in extras". Newyork.yankees.mlb.com. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- Mink, Ryan (2006-06-15). "A-Rod, Yankees fall short in finale". Newyork.yankees.mlb.com. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- Feinsand, Mark (2006-06-06). "Yankees.com". Newyork.yankees.mlb.com. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- "2006 This Year in Baseball Awards". mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved 2012-07-11.
- Feinsand, Mark (2006-07-05). "Cabrera helps Yanks pay back Tribe | yankees.com: News". Newyork.yankees.mlb.com. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- Mink, Ryan (2006-07-18). "Cabrera's long ball sinks Mariners | yankees.com: News". Newyork.yankees.mlb.com. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- "Yankee All Time Walk Off Home Runs". yankeenumbers.com. Retrieved 2012-07-05.
- "Baseball Reference: Melky Cabrera". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 2012-07-11.
- Hoch, Bryan (2007-08-09). "Cabrera maturing nicely for Yanks | yankees.com: News". Newyork.yankees.mlb.com. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- Rubin, Roger (2008-08-16). "Major change in Robinson Cano after Melky Cabrera was sent down". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2012-07-11.
- Dan Graziano. "Yankees-Brewers trade in peril over money, hurt feelings". NJ.com. Retrieved 2012-07-11.
- Feinsand, Mark (2009-03-19). "Melky Cabrera is gaining on Brett Gardner for start in center field". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2012-07-11.
- "Gardner Wins Yanks Center Field Job". SI.com. 2009-03-29.
- Hoch, Bryan (2009-04-29). "With Gardner slumping, Melky starts". MLB.com. Newyork.yankees.mlb.com. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- Hoch, Bryan (2009-06-08). "Melky wins May's Pepsi Clutch Performer | MLB.com: News". MLB.com. Newyork.yankees.mlb.com. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- "Yankees acquire pitcher Javier Vazquez from Braves for Melky Cabera, Prospects". ESPN.com. 2009-12-22. Retrieved 2009-12-22.
- Enrique RojasESPNdeportesArchive (2010-01-14). "Atlanta Braves, Melky Cabrera avoid arbitration - ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. Retrieved 2012-07-11.
- "Kansas City Royals, OF Melky Cabrera agree to contract - ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. 2010-12-10. Retrieved 2012-07-11.
- By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com. "Melky warm to idea of playing in chilly KC | MLB.com: News". Mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved 2012-07-11.
- Posted: 1:27 AM, June 21, 2012 (2012-06-21). "Alex Rodriguez’s lack of doubles, not just home runs, a troubling sign for the New York Yankees, Joel Sherman says". NYPOST.com. Retrieved 2012-07-11.
- Woodworth, Brandon. "Braves release Melky Cabrera « Bowman's Blog". Markbowman.mlblogs.com. Retrieved 2012-07-11.
- "Royals sign Melky Cabrera: report". CBC News. December 9, 2010.
- "Melky Cabrera Stats, Bio, Photos, Highlights".
- Dutton, Bob. "Kevin Seitzer welcomes Melky Cabrera to 200-hit club". KansasCity.com. Retrieved 2012-07-11.
- Haft, Chris (2011-11-07). "Giants land Melky by sending Sanchez to KC". MLB.com. Retrieved 2012-05-30.
- Dutton, Bob (2011-11-07). "Royals get Sanchez from Giants for Cabrera". KansasCity.com. Retrieved 2012-07-11.
- Lacques, Gabe (August 15, 2012). "Melky Cabrera suspended 50 games for testosterone". USA Today. Archived from the original on August 15, 2012.
- Haft, Chris (2012-05-30). "Melky's big night helps Giants top D-backs". MLB.com. Retrieved 2012-06-02.
- Haft, Chris (2012-05-31). "Lincecum's strong start goes unrewarded". MLB.com. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
- "2012 All-Star Game starters announced". MLB.com. 2012-07-01. Retrieved 2012-07-03.
- Skretta, Dave (July 10, 2012). "Triple the fun as NL leads 8-0 in All-Star Game". Yahoo! Sports.
- "Melky delivers, earns All-Star MVP honors". MLB.com. 11 July 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
- McCauley, Janie (August 15, 2012). "Giants LF Cabrera suspended for positive drug test". Boston Globe. Associated Press. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
- "Melky Cabrera suspended 50 games". ESPN.com. August 15, 2012. Archived from the original on August 15, 2012.
- Blum, Ronald (19 August 2012). "Giants' Cabrera created fake website to avoid 50-game suspension: report". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). Associated Press. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- Kawakami, Tim (19 August 2012). "Melky Cabrera's fake website, false innocence make him look worse than guilty". Daily Democrat (Woodland, California). Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- Thompson, Teri; Madden, Bill; Red, Christian; O'Keeffe, Michael; Vinton (19 August 2012). "Daily News uncovers bizarre plot by San Francisco Giants' Melky Cabrera to use fake website and duck drug suspension". New York Daily News. Retrieved 20 August 2012. Unknown parameter
- Baggarly, Andrew. "Melky Cabrera ruled ineligible to win batting crown". CSN Bay Area. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
- "Cabrera, Posey are MVPs". The State. Associated Press. November 16, 2012. Retrieved December 13, 2012.
- "No karma in baseball: Jays' Melky Cabrera will get his ring, dodge hard justice for cheating". Yahoo Sports. Feb 15, 2013. Retrieved Feb 16, 2012.
- "Blue Jays sign Melky Cabrera to two-year, $16 million deal". TSN.ca. November 19, 2012. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
- "Left-fielder Melky Cabrera officially signs with Toronto Blue Jays". Yahoo Sports. November 19, 2012. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
- Brennan, Sean (2006-06-09). "Cano Shows Melky Way - New York Daily News". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2012-07-11.
- Schulman, Henry (2012-06-01). "Melky Cabrera: Torrid-hitting Giant making name for self". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2012-06-20.
- "ESPN.com - E-ticket: King of Gotham?". Sports.espn.go.com. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- "Vote for John Sterling's "Best" Home Run Call". Living with Balls. 28 October 2009. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- "Melky Cabrera hace realidad sueño". El Nacional Digital (in Spanish). Retrieved 2012-07-11.
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