Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  By DANA WAKIJI  |  Last updated 8/30/13
DETROIT -- Matt Tuiasosopo said it best when asked about the possibility that the Tigers might have to play without Miguel Cabrera for an extended period. "That would suck," Tuiasosopo said. "I hope that doesn't happen. I don't even want to think about that." You can bet manager Jim Leyland is thinking about that right now. Despite the Tigers' 7-2, rain-shortened victory over the Cleveland Indians Friday night at Comerica Park, there was a pall cast over the game when Cabrera left after just two innings. Leyland said he was suspicious as soon as he saw Cabrera take batting practice before the game. "He wasnt swinging normal," Leyland said. "I could tell that he was not really turning it loose. I said something to Mac (hitting coach Lloyd McClendon) about it, and I thought he was OK. I could tell, when I talked to Miggy today, when he came in, he was in pretty good spirits, and I know he wanted to play, but I was a little suspicious in talking to him. "When I saw the first at-bat, I knew what I was seeing in BP was probably right. So got him out of there." Cabrera struck out on an uncomfortable-looking swing in the first inning. "I don't feel very good," Cabrera admitted. "I don't swing the bat good in BP. He see that, he's very good to see that. I don't swing good in the first at-bat." Although Cabrera didn't feel good, he did want to play. "We're playing against Cleveland," Cabrera said. "That's the team behind us. You want to play and you want to stay on the field. You come to the field to try to be ready to play every day." Because Sunday is September 1 and rosters expand, the Tigers would not have to place Cabrera on the 15-day disabled list. He could just get treatment, rest and try to heal. The Tigers will need a healthy Cabrera if they do reach the postseason. With Friday's win, the Tigers have a 7 12-game lead over the Indians in the Central Division and a 9 12-game lead over the Kansas City Royals. The Tigers have 27 games left and the Indians have 28. "That's what it's all about," Cabrera said. "That's why Skip take me out (Thursday) and he don't see me very good (Friday) swing the bat. He say not take any more chances, try to get better. Hopefully I get better, hopefully I can come back 100 percent. That's our goal right now." Although Cabrera has battled an array of maladies this season, which makes his numbers even more incredible, it's the lingering abdominal wall strain which he irritated Friday night. "Some days it's good, some days getting worse," Cabrera said. "You don't expect what's going to happen. It's a physical problem and we play a physical game. You want to be out there and play 100 percent but that's baseball. You don't want to get out of the game, you want to still (be) there. Just keep battling and that's it." Leyland said that he had no idea what Cabrera's status for Saturday's game would be. "All I can tell you is when you pull a guy out one night, normally he doesn't start the next day," Leyland said. "I just have to play it by ear, see what happens. No one player can replace a .358 average, .449 on-base percentage, 1.13 OPS, 43 home runs and 130 RBIs. It's a little easier to replace Cabrera on defense. "I could play (Ramon) Santiago at third, (Jose) Iglesias at short, (Omar) Infante at second, and then put (Matt) Tuiasosopo in the outfield," Leyland said. "Or, I could play a left-hander in the outfield, and still play Santiago at third, if I wanted to. Ill just have to look at it." When he first came to the team, Iglesias played third base as Cabrera sat out several games. Tuiasosopo took extra ground balls at third Friday. "I took some last time we were in Cleveland," Tuiasosopo said. "It's just something I've got to continue to do more often, especially how Miggy's feeling. You never know so I just want to be prepared. I came up as an infielder, so I'm comfortable playing in the infield. That's what I've done my whole career until this year." Sitting Cabrera would likely ruin his chances at a second straight Triple Crown, a feat that has never been done. Cabrera leads in batting average and RBIs but trails Baltimore's Chris Davis by four home runs, 47-43. But that's the last thing Cabrera's thinking about. "That's individual part, you gotta think about how we're gonna get better as a team, how we can get better in the stretch," Cabrera said. "You have to think about what is better for the Detroit Tigers. You don't have to be selfish and say you don't want to go to the DL because you want to do something special. As a team, that's not part of my game. I think it's a different story right now. "I do anything I can to help my team to win games and that's it."
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