Tight hamstring forces Miggy's early exit
Slugger day to day after being pulled following sixth-inning single vs. Sox
DETROIT -- A tight left hamstring appears to be a lingering issue for Miguel Cabrera, who left Sunday night's 5-3 loss in the series finale against the Red Sox at Comerica Park.
Cabrera is listed as day to day. He'll be a game-time decision for Monday's series opener against the White Sox in Chicago. Part of the decision might come down to how best to address an issue that has been bothering him for several days.
"Hopefully I'll feel better and be in there," Cabrera said after the game. "I don't know. I've gotta see tomorrow how it feels and see what we want to do."
Cabrera said the left hamstring has been bothering him for a few days. He also said it's similar to the right hamstring cramp that forced him out of a May 25 game against the Rangers. Cabrera left that game in the seventh inning, but had played every inning of every game since then until Sunday.
Both hamstrings have been sore at some point, but the left one worsened recently.
"The last couple days, it's been really sore," Cabrera said.
Cabrera did a lot of baserunning before leaving, and it didn't look like he was doing it at his full, healthy speed. He lumbered into second base on his double into the right-field corner leading off the fourth inning, then had to accelerate on the very next pitch to score on Victor Martinez's ground-ball single to right.
On that play, Cabrera said, "It kind of grabbed me."
Cabrera stayed in the game, but was hampered by it even without running. It was bothering him at the plate in the sixth inning before he lined a two-out single to left, and the Tigers' dugout quickly reacted.
Manager Brad Ausmus and head athletic trainer Kevin Rand came out from the dugout for a quick talk with Cabrera, who didn't put up much of an argument before leaving under his own power.
"He had mentioned it earlier in the game," Ausmus said, "but I think in the at-bat we took him out, you could really tell in the box it was bothering him even more. So there's no reason to risk a major injury."
Don Kelly replaced Cabrera as a pinch-runner, then stayed in the game at first base.
Cabrera's mobility was a serious question last season, when oblique and abdominal problems were eventually revealed to be a core muscle injury. He played through injuries for the second half of the season and into the playoffs, where his core muscle injury essentially prevented him from taking extra bases on hits.
Cabrera underwent core muscle surgery soon after the season ended and was at full strength by the start of Spring Training in mid-February.
Ausmus has the luxury of using Cabrera as the designated hitter and moving Martinez to first base, if he so chooses. The question he'll have is whether that actually helps Cabrera.
"The problem with DHing," Ausmus said, "is you're actually sitting around a lot more, so the muscle kind of gets cold, then you go up and hit, then you try to take a step and you try to run -- as opposed to playing first, where the muscle's staying heated. You're moving around more often.
"There's kind of two schools of thought: He doesn't have to move as much if he DHs, but his muscles could be cold. Or do you send him out there to play first and keep his muscles hot, but then he ends up putting too much stress on it? We're going to have to see how he feels tomorrow. We won't make a decision, obviously, until just before the game tomorrow."