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Cabrera rests ankle in finale against White Sox

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Tigers' Miguel Cabrera grounds out in the first inning in Tuesday's 8-4 win against the White Sox. Cabrera will rest his ankle Wednesday and will not play in the finale.

Detroit — With a chance at a critical sweep and set to face one of the top pitchers in the game, it's not just a day off for Miguel Cabrera.

The Tigers slugging first baseman had his surgically repaired right ankle flare up a couple series ago in Minnesota, and it seems to have gotten a bit worse, judging by his laboring on the bases Tuesday.

Cabrera was not in the lineup for Wednesday's series finale against the White Sox at Comerica Park.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia was to start in his place at first base, while James McCann was to do the catching.

"The ankle flares up from time to time," manager Brad Ausmus said.

With the Tigers off Thursday and playing a night game in Kansas City on Friday, the rest will add up to nearly three days off for Cabrera, with the stretch run looming.

With Nick Castellanos out until perhaps late September and Cameron Maybin's left thumb still a concern — he was out of the lineup, as well, Wednesday, but could return Friday — the Tigers offense seemingly can't afford any more significant blows.

The Tigers entered play Wednesday 4½ games back of the Indians in the American League Central, and a game out of the second wild-card spot.

They have a shot to sweep the White Sox, who have their ace, Chris Sale, pitching against the Tigers' ace, Justin Verlander.

Ausmus acknowledged that training staff will have to keep a close watch on Cabrera's ankle, which underwent surgery following the 2014 season, moving forward.

"It wouldn't shock me ...," said Ausmus, "if he feels it for the rest of his life."

Ausmus said that could be especially true during gloomy, rainy days, as were the conditions Wednesday.

When rain is coming, the atmospheric pressure can negatively affect somebody who's had broken bones or past surgery.

That's not just an old wives' tale.

"It's real," Ausmus said.

The tarp was put on the field about two hours before Wednesday's game.

This will be just the fifth game Cabrera hasn't started this season.