Miggy still clearly bothered by sore ankles, at DH again Saturday
As encouraging as the prognosis was before Friday’s game, the visual evidence was just as discouraging during it.
While Miguel Cabrera, hobbled by a recently sore right ankle to match his already beat-up left ankle, provided all of the Tigers’ runs in a 2-1 loss with a solo home run, it was clear that he was hurting, concerning his manager.
All smiles despite a heavily-taped ankle before the game — even playfully offering questioners a bite of his pregame nachos — Cabrera was clearly grimacing on his home run trot, and just as clearly laboring to make it to second on his earlier double.
That begs the obvious question of when he’ll be available to play third base again, after spending Friday night at designated hitter. It won’t be Saturday, as he was in the lineup at DH again.
“I go by the medical team’s suggestion. I talked to Kevin (Rand, the head trainer) at 11 o’clock this morning about Cabrera. He checked everything, he double-checked everything. You do what you have to do,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said after posting the lineup Saturday. “It was pretty obvious last night, I didn’t expect — I was hoping for today, before the game yesterday. But after seeing him last night, I was not surprised that we’d have to DH him tonight.
“I doubt very much Cabrera will play third base before Kansas City (Tuesday), after talking to trainers today.”
The ankles — one of which (the left) has been pounded by numerous foul balls in recent weeks, followed by a twist of the right ankle when he stepped across the plate in batting practice earlier this week — haven’t yet cost Cabrera a start.
And they don’t appear to have limited his power any.
“Oh, yeah. That’s Miguel. That’s what he does,” Prince Fielder joked of the hobbling home-run hitter. “Kind of used to it.”
But it was clear that he was not running the bases at anywhere near his optimum level.
“I was worried about because I was talking, I never take Miguel Cabrera out of a game but I’d have probably had to tonight to pinch run real late. I never do that because I just don’t want him out of there in any game, really, unless it’s a lopsided situation. But I probably would have had to run for him tonight the way when he hit the double, it looked like he was scuffling a little bit,” Leyland said after Friday’s game.
“I think he thought it was going to be an easy double at first. It was a little tough for him and then he had to accelerate a little bit. I did cringe a little bit but I wasn’t so worried abut the slide, I could just see, I made my plans right then, if this gets late in the game, eighth, ninth inning, something like that, I’m probably going to have to run for him. I just don’t like to take those kind of guys out of the game ever, no matter what the situation is.”
And he’s not any closer to ready to play the field than he was Thursday, when the Tigers manager and training staff had to come check him out — and pull him out — in the second inning.
That hasn’t changed significantly.
Nor will it, unless the ankle gets worse.
“Unless it was to the point that it was affecting his swing, as well as his running, and then you wouldn’t play him at all,” Leyland said. “Didn’t seem to affect him too much last night — he hit three balls right on the screws, one of them over the fence, one of them down the left-field line, and one of them that would’ve went over the fence if the wind hadn’t been blowing in.”