Longtime Detroit Tigers star Miguel Cabrera is helping Gov. Gretchen Whitmer promote COVID-19 vaccinations in the state of Michigan.

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Cabrera, now in his 14th season in Detroit, volunteered to serve as a co-chair of the Protect Michigan Commission, the governor’s office announced Wednesday.

The 38-year-old will produce public service announcements — with help from the Tigers — in English and Spanish. It’s an attempt to motivate people in the state to get vaccinated, wear masks, social distance and frequently wash hands to reduce the spread of the virus.



a baseball player holding a bat: Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera points to the first base umpire for a check swing during the third inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)


© The Associated Press
Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera points to the first base umpire for a check swing during the third inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

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“Based on what I know from getting vaccinated already, the shots are nowhere near as bad as the virus,” Cabrera said in a statement. “Our goal with thecommission is to get as many people vaccinated as possible, and I hope my support toward that end is successful.”

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Across Michigan, 35.9% of residents ages 16 and older — 2,907,511 of an estimated 8,096,971 total people — have received the COVID-19 vaccine, according to data provided by the Michigan health department. The state’s goal is to get 70% vaccinated by the end of the year. In Detroit, 20.4% of residents (106,085 people) are fully vaccinated.

There have been 829,520 total confirmed COVID-19 cases and 17,429 deaths in Michigan since the beginning of the pandemic.

“We are grateful that Miggy is stepping up to the plate to help inform Michiganders on the importance of getting their COVID-19 vaccinations,” Whitmer said in a statement. “We appreciate the Tiger organization’s advocacy because this is an all-hands-on-deck moment in our state’s effort to persevere and overcome the pandemic.”

Cabrera is a 19-year MLB veteran, two-time American League MVP, Triple Crown winner and 11-time All-Star. He helped the Tigers to a World Series appearance in 2012 and won a World Series for the Florida Marlins in 2003.

The Tigers acquired Cabrera in December 2007 from the Marlins. He doesn’t become a free agent until after the 2023 season. This season, Cabrera is 6-for-35 (.171) with two home runs and five RBIs in 10 games.

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“Together, we urge all Michiganders and fans of the Tigers to get vaccinated and prevent the spread of COVID-19 so that we can return to the full stadiums, arenas, concerts, and sporting events that we all love so much,” said Chris Granger, Ilitch Holdings’ Group President of Sports and Entertainment, in a statement.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera to help Gov. Gretchen Whitmer encourage COVID-19 vaccines

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