First pitch: Cabrera sits out Sunday
By STEVE KORNACKI
DETROIT – Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera, who
came out in the 10th inning Saturday night, was not in the starting
Tigers manager Jim
Leyland had no idea when Cabrera would return or what the plan will be in using
him over the final week of the regular season.
“I’m pretty concerned about that,” Leyland said. "But I
really don’t know what I can do about it.”
Cabrera has been playing hurt since the first week of July,
when he strained his abdominal wall and that led to hip flexor
problems. Recently, the groin strain connected to those injuries has limited
him the most and is the reason he was out Sunday. The defending American League
MVP also played through a bruised shin and knee for a few weeks.
He’s played 143 games through it all, and is leading the
league with a .349 average and 136 RBIs. He’s second in home runs with 44,
trailing Baltimore’s Chris Davis by seven.
Detroit’s magic number is two for clinching the Central
Division, but Leyland said a “Catch-22” exists in resting Cabrera after the
“You are going to have four days off before the playoffs
begin,” Leyland said. “Common sense says you rest him. But you go seven days
without seeing a pitcher and that’s no good. That’s a Catch-22.”
Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said Cabrera has
been cleared to play through most of the pain and stiffness because there is no
threat of structural damage occurring. But he did allow that playing slows the
Leyland would not reveal any plan. But based on his desire
to keep Cabrera from getting rusty, it would seem that resting Cabrera for the
three games beginning Monday in Minnesota with the Twins makes sense. Then
Cabrera, if able, could play the remaining three games in Miami against the
IGLESIAS REMAINS OUT: Shortstop Jose Iglesias was out Sunday
for the third consecutive game with the bruised left hand suffered Thursday,
when he was hit by a pitch. The hand remains swollen and Iglesias is icing it
while receiving treatment and working it with gradual motions.
“He couldn’t pinch-run last night,” Leyland said.
Iglesias said: “It’s better, yes, with more movement. I’m
going to see how it feels running and see how it goes. I keep it moving even if I do not feel
comfortable because it will make it better. But my range of motion is limited.”
Iglesias added that he hoped the rest would help with the
shin splints he’d been playing through.
BULLPEN UPDATE: Leyland said Al Alburquerque, who pitched two
innings in picking up the win in Saturday night’s 7-6 win that came in 12
innings after the Tigers rallied for six in the ninth inning, is unavailable to
pitch Sunday. The skipper said a few other relievers are questionable, but had
to be evaluated prior to game time.
Bruce Rondon (elbow) and Phil Coke (forearm) are being tested
Sunday to see if they can pitch after sitting out with injuries that are not
However, with so much up in the air, Leyland said his top
three late-inning pitchers are available. Leyland has Jose Veras, Drew Smyly
and Joaquin Benoit ready to come in after starter Anibal Sanchez.
DUCK DYNASTY HURLING:
There will be more impressive beards on the mound at Comerica Park for
Sunday’s first pitch than you will find among the Boston Red Sox.
Three of the stars of “Duck Dynasty,” the popular reality
show on A&E, will be throwing out first pitches. Brothers Willie and Jase
Robertson and their quirky uncle, Si Robertson, will be doing the duties. Their
Duck Commander company, which produces three-reed duck calls, has become a
multi-million dollar corporation. They are huge LSU fans, and so rooting for
the Tigers will come easily.
The trio will be performing stand-up comedy Sunday night at
the Sound Board at the Motor City Casino Hotel.