The Detroit Tigers’ dissipating loud roar turned into a mere yelp after Miguel Cabrera’s recent injury. The MVP candidate suffered a Grade 3 left calf strain earlier this month against the Toronto Blue Jays, putting him on the disabled list for the first time in his career and on the shelf for six weeks. Apart from being the league’s best pure hitter, Cabrera was renowned for his surprising athleticism and tremendous durability, so when Miggy walked off the field, the Tigers knew something was wrong. “When Miggy says he can’t play, it’s serious, because Miggy plays through anything,” Manager Brad Ausmus said.
Where does that leave the Tigers?
Cabrera has repeatedly played hurt in the past. He has played maybe when he shouldn’t have, more times than anyone can count. There are a lot of ways for a player to get hurt while playing baseball, and they differ based on a lot of factors, rotator cuff and ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injuries when pitching, and so, so many leg injuries for batters. Cabrera’s injury will test Tigers’ playoff-race mettle, that’s for sure, and could determine whether or not they will buy at the trade deadline.
The calendar says the six-week point is August 15. However, the endpoint could well stretch into September, add this up in a minor league rehabilitation assignment and account for the chance that Cabrera, 32, doesn’t fully heal. It’s the apprehension game. Needless to say, the Tigers’ substitute hitters need to bring home the bacon despite Cabrera’s absence.
“We’re going to have to find a way to get it done without him,” Ausmus explained. “We still have a very good offense.”
When Victor Martinez went down for a whole month due to left knee soreness, the Tigers couldn’t pull through without him. If he were to get injured while playing at first base… yeah, no. The Tigers signed Marc Krauss and brought up Jefry Marte from Toledo to fill in the hole left at first base. Marte is only 24 and is an eight-year minor league veteran. His hitting is respectable, but he is a third baseman with only a handful of games at first base in the Arizona and the Texas League. What’s more, for as much as the Tigers need to endure without Cabrera’s offense, they will also miss his defense.
DEALING WITH INJURIES
Ausmus said injuries are part of the game, and unfortunately, it happened to one of the best players in baseball. Baseball players at all levels are vulnerable to injuries to just about any body part, and while there are techniques they can do to reduce risk, the lack of proper rest over a 162-game stretch causes even the best athletes to breakdown. It’s hard to expect a team to endure a season without an injury – or five.
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With less than a couple weeks away from the trade deadline, Detroit Tigers fans can only hope for a fast recovery for Cabrera and for the Tigers to grit their teeth through it and play strong in the upcoming games.
In other words, let’s hope they’re eating their Wheaties full of legal supplements!