PHOENIX -- What initially looked like an All-Star panic for Tigers fans turned out to be a precautionary exit from the Midsummer Classic for slugger Miguel Cabrera, who left Tuesday's 5-1 National League win with mild soreness in his right side.
"It's nothing big," Cabrera said as he left Chase Field. "I'm going to take care of myself and get ready for Friday."
Cabrera had entered the game for the bottom of the fifth inning as a defensive replacement for starting first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. He grounded out to second base in his lone at-bat, ending the top of the sixth inning against former Tiger Jair Jurrjens. He said he felt the soreness during that at-bat on a checked swing.
Cabrera pointed along his right side, near the oblique area, when asked where the pain was.
He came back out for the next half-inning at first base, but still didn't feel right. Once the American League All-Stars took the field for the bottom of the seventh, Minnesota's Michael Cuddyer replaced him at first.
Had it been a regular-season game, Cabrera said, he probably wouldn't have left the game.
"No, no, I don't think so," he said. "But the first thing is to keep safe today. You don't want to come back hurt to the organization. You have to be smart in this situation. It's why I told them I'm hurt right now. I felt something a little bit, so I want to make sure it's OK."
Any injury to Cabrera is obviously a serious concern to the Tigers, who enter the season's second half with a half-game lead over Cleveland in the American League Central. He took a .980 OPS, 18 home runs and 59 RBIs into the All-Star break, all tops on the Tigers.
Cabrera has played in each of the Tigers' 92 games, starting all but one of them. He expects to be back in the starting lineup when the Tigers begin the season's second half on Friday night against the White Sox at Comerica Park.
"I expect to play," Cabrera said. "Hopefully, I take care of it tomorrow and the next day and be ready to play."