Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera has been impressive once again as he continues to dominate just one season after winning the first American League Triple Crown in decades. Unfortunately, Cabrera has been dealing with a hip flexor since June and a strained abdomen that continues to haunt him. Even though Cabrera continues to play at a high level, the injuries are certainly a concern for the Tigers. At this point, the question is if he will be healthy for the team’s postseason run.
Detroit manager Jim Leyland is not stupid. He knows how talented Cabrera truly is, and he understands that the Tigers need their top offensive threat in order to reach the World Series for the second consecutive year. Sure, Detroit has been able to win games without the third baseman in the lineup. However, every player, coach and fan would be kidding themselves if they thought the team could make a legitimate run without the best offensive player in the game suiting up on a daily basis.
“He knows he can still be a force playing handicapped,” Leyland said, according to Tigers.com. “And we’ve been very fortunate to play as well as we have, but that luck will run out at some point if he’s not in there. We’ve been very fortunate, but I wouldn’t keep counting on that.
“It’s not to slight somebody else that’s in the lineup. I mean, you can miss a good player. But when you’re talking about the elite, they change the strategy.”
With only 22 games left on the regular season, the Tigers basically have the American League Central division wrapped up with a six and a half game lead. Even though the Boston Red Sox still hold the top seed in the AL with Detroit in second, the Tigers have to consider giving Cabrera plenty of rest over the next few weeks. Obviously, the team does not want him to fall out of his rhythm and I am sure he will not want to take much time off. He just needs some time to recuperate so that he can stay in the lineup on a consistent basis.
“Our goal is to make sure he is fine,” team president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said, according to Tigers.com. “Nobody has ever said to us that shutting him down for an extended period will make him better. He’s made progress. He at times has tweaked his situation, but he continues to be day to day at this point. He has some good days, some bad days. Unfortunately, he’s just done something to hurt himself, tweak it at times.”
At this point, all that matters is getting Cabrera healthy for the playoffs. Detroit definitely has the fire power to reach the World Series again, but they will need the guy with the “S” on his chest in order to do so.