With the Detroit Tigers out of the playoff hunt for the eighth straight year, they’re not taking any chances with the health of 39-year-old Miguel Cabrera and 25-year-old Tarik Skubal.
Manager A.J. Hinch said Wednesday that Cabrera is fighting a flare-up of a chronic right knee injury and is going to spend some more time out of the lineup. Skubal landed on the 15-day injured list Wednesday with inflammation in his left (pitching) forearm.
Hinch said he and Cabrera had a conversation about his role.
“I’ve talked to him about playing time moving forward and trying to get him a few more regularly scheduled days off,” Hinch said. “We want to take some at-bats and give them to some guys. I may sprinkle in a few more off days and be careful with him.”
Cabrera, a two-time American League Most Valuable Player, entered July with a .314 batting average. Since then, he’s hitting .193 (17-for-88) in the past 27 games.
He has played exclusively at designated hitter this season in 90 games and is batting .271 with four home runs and 36 RBIs.
“I don’t think it’s going to get a ton better,” Hinch said. “He can tolerate a lot. He has his good days; he has his bad days. I’m obviously very concerned at his age and how much he’s played. There’s no resolution other than fighting through it. I want him to be honest with us about his pain because it’s important that we don’t put him in more harm’s way. It just is what it is at this point of his career. We’re going to have to monitor it.”
Cabrera is under contract with the Tigers through 2023, when the eight-year, $248 million extension he signed in March 2014 expires.
In 2,678 career games, the certain future Baseball Hall of Fame member has 3,074 hits, 506 home runs and 1,840 RBIs to go with a .309 batting average.
As for Skubal, Hinch said he won’t take any chances.
“We just have to be very, very conservative with these arm injuries,” Hinch said. “This one is alarming because it’s Tarik Skubal and what he means to the rotation, to the organization. There’s no sense in pushing him until he’s completely asymptomatic and not feeling the tightness that he’s feeling.”
Skubal pitched Monday and held the Minnesota Twins scoreless on 77 pitches through five innings. He didn’t figure in the decision in the 5-3 Minnesota win in 10 innings.
On the season, Skubal is 7-8 with a 3.52 ERA in 21 starts. He has struck out 117 in 117 2/3 innings.
“He wants the ball,” Hinch said. “He wants to pitch. It’s a tough conversation because he prides himself on posting every five, six days, but we took it out of his hands.”
–Field Level Media