Tigers star Miguel Cabrera goes on the DL for the first time in hie career.
DETROIT, MI | Two-time AL MVP Miguel Cabrera is known for “firsts”. In 2012, he became the first in Detroit Tigers history to hit 30 home runs in five consecutive seasons, and in the same year, he became the first Latin American player to win the Triple Crown. On Friday evening, Cabrera added another first to his resume: going on the disabled list.
Midway through the fourth inning while running the bases, the infielder suffered a grade-three calf strain. Cabrera hobbled to the dugout and the Tigers went on to win 8-6 over the Toronto Blue Jays; however, the team will have to play the next six weeks without their most powerful bat in the lineup.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said in a post-game interview, ”I’m not optimistic at all. When Miggy says he can’t play, it is serious, because Miggy plays through everything.” In 1,896 career games, Cabrera has dealt with his share of injuries including hernia issues, a strained groin, and most recently off-season ankle surgery. Still, this is first time in his 13-year career that he’s suffered an injury of this magnitude.
The Tigers now find themselves in a situation where their resilience will be put to the test. After defeating the Blue Jays again Saturday afternoon 8-3, Detroit is now five and half games behind Kansas City in the AL Central and two games above .500, but now they must attempt a playoff push without their most vital piece in their lineup.
Since DH Victor Martinez isn’t fully healthy, he will not be able to play first base in Cabrera’s absence. With the All-Star break and trade deadline approaching, GM Dave Dombrowski has some time to piece together some viable options to replace Cabrera. In the meantime, according to the Detroit Free Press, the Tigers have purchased the contract of infielder Jefry Marte from Triple-A Toledo. Marte has primarily played third base this season but has first base experience.
“I can’t sit here and say we’ll be fine, because he’s the best hitter in baseball, at least in my eyes,” Tigers right fielder J.D. Martinez said after Friday’s game. “But if you look at our lineup, we’ve still got a lot of weapons.”
The nine-time All Star has provided the team this season a .350 batting average with 16 doubles, 15 home runs, and 54 RBIs. Those kinds of numbers will not be easy to replace, but there is still some confidence in the air considering there is still Yoenis Cespedes, Victor Martinez, and J.D. Martinez to help the team push through Cabrera’s DL stint.
“You don’t want to lose your best player, there’s no secret,” Victor Martinez said. “But at the same time, I have always said this is not a one man sport. Everybody has to do their part and time for us to start winning and keep winning.”