Cabrera leaves game after two innings
For the second time in as many days, Miguel Cabrera left a game with injury. This time, he lasted two innings of Friday’s series opener against Cleveland before exiting with what the team announced as irritation in his abdominal area.
Cabrera is listed as day-to-day. The way his weekend is going, it is becoming a daily question whether Cabrera can play through his ailment.
Cabrera left Thursday afternoon’s series finale against Oakland with abdominal discomfort that extended to the groin area. It’s an aggravation of an abdominal strain that has bothered him for close to two months.
Cabrera said after Thursday’s game that he planned on starting Friday. True to his word, he was back in the Tigers’ starting lineup for the series opener against the Indians, batting third and playing third base.
Manager Jim Leyland said before the game that he checked with Cabrera Friday afternoon before writing him into the starting lineup, and Cabrera was all smiles.
“Believe me, if he can’t play, he won’t play,” Leyland said. “He’s fine. He’s hurting some. I checked with him today. He’s ready to go. He’s sore. That’s the way it is.”
Cabrera struck out swinging to end the first inning, and he did not have a play to make in the field in either of the first two innings. He went after a Lonnie Chisenhall pop fly in foul territory to end the second inning, but shortstop Jose Iglesias ran it down and caught it.
When the Tigers took the field for the top of the third, Cabrera didn’t come out of the dugout. Don Kelly, who started the game in left field, replaced Cabrera at third, with Andy Dirks entering the game in left.
On Thursday, it was an acceleration around first base, trying to stretch a fifth-inning single into a double, that led to Cabrera aggravating the injury.
“You have to be willing to accept what it is, and we’re willing to accept it,” Leyland said. “The only thing he can’t do is he can’t run. He still catches the ball at third. He still throws them out. He still hits the ball over the fence. He’s still gets hits. He still knocks in runs. He’s handicapped a little bit physically, but nobody in here or any place else in the organization would risk hurting a guy long term if he didn’t feel he was ready to play.”
The Tigers entered Friday with a 6 1/2-game lead on Cleveland in the American League Central. A larger lead with 25 games left to play after the weekend might be enough to start looking into rest for the slugger. The team medical staff told Leyland that Cabrera can’t worsen the injury by playing through it, but his recent issues clearly suggest he isn’t getting any better, either.
“If he needs a day, he’ll get it,” Leyland said. “If he needs two days or three days, whenever it is, big series, little series, whatever you want to call it.”
The Tigers seem to be readying their options. Matt Tuiasosopo, who played third base in Spring Training with Cabrera in the World Baseball Classic, worked out at third base during batting practice Friday. Leyland, meanwhile, said he might use Cabrera at designated hitter for a game and put Victor Martinez at catcher, where he played well for two games against the Mets last week.
The Tigers will be able to call up reinforcements on Sunday, when 25-man roster expands and anyone on the 40-man roster can be active. Utility infielder Danny Worth has been playing some third base at Triple-A Toledo.