Don Kelly showed again Fridaon y night why he’s one of Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland‘s favorite players.
Leyland loves players like Kelly who are versatile and can play a variety of positions. With the continuing injury problems surrounding superstar Miguel Cabrera at third base, Kelly has come in handy in another unique way.
The Tigers defeated the Cleveland Indians 7-2 in a game that ended from rain after seven innings. But for the second straight day, Cabrera departed the game early because of injury.
He’s had abdominal discomfort that extends to the groin area, an aggravation of the abdominal strain that’s been nagging him almost two months. He left this time after two innings. Leyland just brought Kelly in from left field and put him at third base. Andy Dirks then went from the bench to the outfield.
Starting on Sunday, the Tigers can go to an active 40-man roster and would have other options at third base, and could move Cabrera to the designated hitter role currently maintained by Victor Martinez, who would be used at catcher.
Meanwhile, Kelly had an RBI in a huge Tigers victory on Friday night that expands the team’s advantage to 7.5 games over second-place Cleveland in the AL Central. He’s batting only .237, but with his versatility, Kelly is extremely valuable to Leyland right now.
Despite Cabrera’s injury worries, the Tigers are sitting very fine right now. One or two wins over Cleveland in the rest of this series would virtually end the divisional race.