Back pain puts Tigers’ Cabrera on bench

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera sat out Wednesday's game against the White Sox with lower-back pain.

Detroit — It’s been 24 games, 98 plate appearances, since Miguel Cabrera hit a home run. The longest he’s ever gone between home runs in his career is 27 games.

Since coming off the disabled list in early August, he’s hit two home runs.

Missing six weeks with a calf strain, on top of the occasional post-surgical pain and soreness in his ankle, certainly has affected his power stroke. And now this:

Cabrera was held out of the lineup for Wednesday's 1:08 p.m. game against the White Sox with lower-back irritation.

“The last few days his lower back has been bothering him,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “If we were fighting for a playoff spot, he’d be playing. But we just decided with the off day tomorrow, we’d give him two days to let it clear up.”

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Ausmus said the back pain flared up earlier in the week. Cabrera was still in the lineup Sunday against the Royals, in the second game of the doubleheader Monday and he played all 10 innings Tuesday.

“We’d just rather knock it out now,” Ausmus said. “We have a couple series coming up against teams that are in contention (Minnesota and Texas) and we need to throw a good lineup out there. We want to have Miggy healthy.”

Missing another game shouldn’t impact Cabrera’s run at a fourth batting title. The Tigers have nine and possibly 10 games remaining (if they play the makeup game at Cleveland).

If he plays nine more games and averages four plate appearances, he will finish with 523 plate appearances.

His .337 average continues to lead the American League. Boston’s Xander Bogaerts (.325) is second.