Cleveland – On the surface, it seems like manager Brad Ausmus did the Cleveland Indians a favor. He gave first baseman Miguel Cabrera, who is hitting a lusty .619 against the Indians this season, Wednesday off.
The reality is, he's looking out for the long-term best interests of both Cabrera and the Tigers.
"Even Superman needs a day off," Aumsus said. "It's a noon game after a night game. I know people will say, 'How can you give Miggy a day off?' But if we get through 162 games and he doesn't have a day off, they will say, 'How could you not give Miggy a day off? He looks tired.'"
Andrew Romine, who has hit two home runs in the last three days, started at first base. Victor Martinez moved up to the third spot in the order.
"I could DH Miggy, but then I can't play Victor," he said. "And Victor has already missed a month."
Ausmus said Cabrera's gaudy numbers against the Indians didn't factor into the decision.
"There's not many pitchers that I look at the stat sheet and go, 'Well, Miggy doesn't hit him,'" he said. "I think David Price is the only one he doesn't hit and he's on his team. The next time we face David Price, I will sit Miggy."
Cabrera is 1-for-17 against Price.
"Listen, you never want Miggy out of the lineup," Ausmus said. "But you have to have a little vision."
Ausmus said by the end of the season, he expects Cabrera to play 158-160 games.
"People complained when I gave him off days last year and he ended up being Player of the Month in September," he said. "I don't know if there is a correlation, but I think if he gets off-days, mental breaks, it refreshes him.
"Down the stretch and into the playoffs, they understand, 'OK, I am grinding now.' That's why you want to give them breathers in the first four months."