Tigers’ Cabrera gets rare day off

DETROIT — It was a very different lineup for the
Tigers on Sunday — star slugger Miguel Cabrera wasn’t in it for the first time
this season.

With Cabrera battling a sore right ankle, manager Jim Leyland wrestled with the
decision of whether he should use Cabrera as the designated hitter or sit him
out completely.

“I didn’t even sleep last night,” Leyland said. “I talked to a
lot of people. I made a couple calls last night. I talked to my coaches all day

“But you know, at the end of the day when I talked to Cabrera, I knew the
best thing to do was to rest him today, no matter what the outcome of this game
was. That’s what managing is.”

Andy Dirks batted third in Cabrera’s spot and went 2-for-3 with two runs and
two hits, one an RBI triple.

Leyland emphasized that Cabrera did not ask for the day off.

“If I told him he was DHing, he would have been fine,” Leyland said.
“He was the last guy that I wanted to talk to, just to see how he would
look and respond, and I was totally convinced that I should give him the day
off. He did not ask for the day off.”

Cabrera seemed to be fine with Leyland’s decision.

“You gotta think like they’re going to give you some days off,”
Cabrera said. “It was a perfect time. That way, I can be ready for Kansas
City.”

Cabrera was happy that his teammates were able to beat the Angels 5-2 without
him.

“That’s what it’s about,” Cabrera said. “It’s about everybody
here contributing.

“Even if I don’t play today, the guys are gonna do what they do today.
It’s kind of like I was feeling good with this day off. I got a lot of
confidence in my teammates. It’s nothing to worry about.”

Leyland was also pleased that his team responded without their leading MVP
candidate.

“I found something out about our guys today, I think,” Leyland said.
“I thought it was really good. I think they knew with the big guy out of
there, I think some guys really stepped up and responded. I’m proud of
them.”

The rest of the Tigers knew that Cabrera had been fighting through pain to play,
and were pleased that they could give him a rest.

“That was the goal,” Gerald Laird said. “The goal was to win
today and keep him off his foot and give him a break.  

“The guy’s been huge all year. That’s all we can do for our best
hitter.”

With the off day Monday, Leyland believes Cabrera should be back in shape when
the Tigers start their three-game series in Kansas City.

“I’m pretty confident that Miguel will play third base in the Kansas City
series,” Leyland said. “I think this did wonders for him, and it has
nothing to do with the fact that we won the game.”

Prince Fielder is now the only Tiger who has played in all 127 games.

Young still on hot streak

After Delmon Young went 3-for-4 with two doubles Saturday, Leyland couldn’t
keep him out of the lineup, although that was the original plan.

Since Cabrera was out, Young was the DH Sunday.

Young went 2-for-4 with a double and home run. He’s batting .324 with seven
doubles, two home runs and and eight RBI in his last 18 games.

“He’s in a good groove right now, I can tell you that,” Leyland
said.  “He’s a run producer. He’s a veteran guy

“As it turns out probably, if he’s not good enough, we’re probably not
good enough.”

Jackson needs a break

Austin Jackson went 0-for-13 in the three-game series against the Angels,
batting just .231 on the home stand.

“I probably should have started (Quintin) Berry in center field today and
given Austin two days,” Leyland said. “Because as you could see
today, he was tired. I screwed it up.

“But I had so much on my mind about the Cabrera thing. That’s a little
trick that I missed, and I kick myself in the fanny for it.”