Cabrera was activated from the disabled list on Friday and went for 1-for-3 with a walk in the Tigers’ 5-2 victory over the slumping Toronto Blue Jays. The two teams will match up again in the second game of a three-game series on Saturday afternoon at Detroit’s Comerica Park.
Cabrera hadn’t played since May 3 because of a strained hamstring.
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“He was moving around just fine,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He was excited. I think he was nervous. I was asking him before the game and he actually felt a little anxiety, which was really cool, for a guy who’s played that long.”
Cabrera is expected to be in his usual spot on Saturday when the Tigers attempt to stretch their three-game winning streak.
“I’ll check on him tomorrow, see how he got through it,” Gardenhire said. “My guess is he wants to play. He’s been out a long time and I think he really enjoyed himself out there.”
Right fielder Nicholas Castellanos is also having a blast. He notched his third consecutive three-hit game on Friday, including a solo homer.
“Nothing surprises right now with him,” Gardenhire said. “I said before I got here he reminds me of (J.D.) Martinez and that’s probably a guy he learned a lot from.”
The Blue Jays, who have lost four straight, won’t have their most feared hitter for at least the next week. Third baseman Josh Donaldson was placed on the DL on Friday, retroactive to May 29, with left calf tightness. Donaldson suffered the injury during the opener of the team’s three-game series in Boston this week.
Toronto did get some reinforcements on Friday, as both right fielder Randal Grichuk and shortstop Aledmys Diaz were activated from the DL. Grichuk had been sidelined since April 29 with a right knee injury. Diaz missed nearly four weeks of action due to a sprained left ankle.
They hit at the bottom of the order on Friday. Grichuk went 0-for-2 before departing for a pinch hitter. Diaz went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
“It’s good to have (Diaz) back,” manager John Gibbons told the Toronto Sun. “He started to play really well when he went down and has done a nice job out there for us this year. It’s good to have (Grichuk) back, too. They were part of the original plan, you know? I’m glad to see them. Now it looks (somewhat) like the way we’re supposed to look, let’s see what we can do with it.”
Detroit’s starter on Saturday, Matthew Boyd, has allowed three runs or less in eight of his first 10 starts this season. He didn’t give up any in his last start, though he only lasted five-plus innings in a 9-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Monday.
Boyd (3-4, 3.00 ERA) has faced the Blue Jays three times, posting a 0-1 record and 3.86 ERA.
He’ll be opposed by the Blue Jays’ best starter, J.A. Happ (7-3, 3.84 ERA). Happ has won his last three starts, most recently against Philadelphia on Sunday when he gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits in 6 2/3 innings. Happ has racked up 23 strikeouts during his personal winning streak.
In eight career outings against the Tigers, Happ is 3-1 with a 3.74 ERA.