Cabrera diagnosed with Grade 3 calf strain, expected to miss six weeks
For the first time in his career, Miguel Cabrera is headed to the disabled list. The American League’s hitting leader and two-time MVP went on the 15-day DL on Saturday morning with a left calf strain suffered on the basepaths in Friday night’s 8-6 victory over the Blue Jays.
An MRI taken on the calf revealed a Grade 3 calf strain, including tearing of muscle fibers, that is expected to keep Cabrera out for around six weeks. The Tigers were expecting to get additional opinion later Saturday, including from Dr. Robert Anderson, who performed the surgery on Cabrera’s left ankle and foot last fall.
“There’s some fibers tearing,” manager Brad Ausmus said, “but not to the point where he’ll need surgery or anything like that.”
In a career with plenty of accomplishments, it’s a first Cabrera would’ve rather avoided. But for a slugger who played through a torn groin in 2013 and a stress fracture in his left foot last year, the calf injury immediately looked like something he wouldn’t be able to play through.
Still, the diagnosis was close to a worst-case scenario for a team battling to stay in the American League Central and Wild Card races.
“Sometimes you find out more about a team when a player like Miggy goes down,” Ausmus said. “We’ll see what type of fight we have.”
A six-week absence would keep Cabrera out until mid-August. It also places the Tigers into a quandary leading into the July 31 Trade Deadline, deciding whether it would be worth acquiring help at first base, and deciding whether Cabrera’s situation affects their status as buyers or sellers.
For now, Ausmus said, the Tigers will play it by ear deciding on who plays at first base. Alex Avila started at first on Saturday.
For now, the Tigers have filled Cabrera’s roster spot with Triple-A Toledo third baseman Jefry Marte, having purchased his contract Saturday morning. The 24-year-old won International League Player of the Month honors for the Mud Hens after batting .317 (33-for-104) with eight doubles, eight homers and 25 RBIs in June.
For the season, Marte is batting .271 with 20 doubles, 13 homers, 55 RBIs and seven stolen bases. He has played almost exclusively at third base, but has 10 career games at first over his eight-year Minor League career.