Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera, here connecting on a run-scoring single in the first inning of Game 1, was removed for defensive purposes in the bottom on ninth Friday. (Robin Buckson / The Detroit News)
Oakland, Calif. — It got noticed because such things do.
Such things, that is, which involve baseball’s best hitter.
So in his postgame comments on Friday night and again before Saturday night’s Game 2 of the Tigers-Athletics Division Series, manager Jim Leyland made it clear why he took Miguel Cabrera out of a one-run game in the bottom of the ninth.
There were two reasons — accompanied, though, by the assurance that Cabrera still feels well enough to play.
“I think so,” Leyland said. “He’s playing.”
It seemed that in the third inning, Cabrera might have tweaked the groin condition that has bothered him for weeks.
“He tried to kick it in while running and it looked like it bothered him a little bit, to be honest with you,” Leyland said.
“I wasn’t comfortable taking him out of a one-run game, but there was a little more to it.”
“As you know,” said Leyland, “this is a ballpark with a lot of foul territory and I felt like at that point, if they hit a pop-up he can’t get to, that’s an out we might have given up.
“(Don) Kelly or (Ramon) Santiago might get to it and give us an out, as opposed to Miggy not being able to get there.
“So that’s why the move was made.”
And why it could be made again.
“We’re in a bind,” Leyland said Saturday. “There’s Cabrera’s situation. You never know when you might have to do something there.
“As I said, I hated to take him out, but I was just afraid that at a time when outs were golden, I didn’t want to see someone pop one up that he couldn’t get to, with all this foul territory.
“But I’m not going to talk about Cabrera every day. He’s not going to be playing healthy, but he’s going play.
“I’ll make the moves that I have to make for him. That’s as simple as it is.”