'All systems go': Tigers' Cabrera to return Tuesday

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, left, watches while Miguel Cabrera runs to first base prior to Monday's game against the Indians.

Detroit – Miguel Cabrera is ready.

After his batting practice session Monday – in which he deposited baseballs in the left-field and right-field seats and one to the top of the camera well in center field – Miguel Cabrera happily clapped his hands.

“All systems go,” said manager Brad Ausmus, who supervised Cabrera’s final workout along with head athletic trainer Kevin Rand. “As long as he gets out of the bed in the morning, he’ll be in the lineup (Tuesday).

“At this point, there is no reason to think he wouldn’t be.”

Including the series-opener Monday against the Indians, Cabrera will have missed nine games with a right groin strain. The Tigers were 4-4 in the first eight games, which could have been a lot worse.

“The call-ups we’ve had recently, (John) Hicks included, certainly have contributed offensively,” Ausmus said. “And they didn’t hurt their own cause moving forward.”

Hicks was the primary replacement for Cabrera at first base. And all he did was hit .423 (11-for-26) with three doubles, a home run and seven RBIs in seven games. Ausmus didn’t make it official, but it’s a good bet Hicks will be sent back to Toledo when Cabrera is activated on Tuesday.

“It’s always tough to tell somebody they’ve been sent down,” Ausmus said. “But it’s a little easier when you tell them they are being sent down because Miguel Cabrera is coming off the disabled list.

“They are smart guys. They can figure it out.”

Cabrera was hitting .268 with three home runs and nine RBIs at the time of the injury, and he had just started to heat up. In the eight games before the injury, he hit .429 with an OPS of 1.321.

All things considered, and assuming there was no unforeseen setback overnight, the Tigers dodged a bullet losing Cabrera for just nine games.

“I’ve said all along, we want to avoid the long-term injuries,” Ausmus said. “The 10-day DL (as opposed to the 15-day minimum of past years) helped us as well. His stay was five days shorter than it would have been in previous seasons.

“But Miggy is a guy we need all year. He generally plays 150-some games and he’s one of the best hitters in any league. Obviously, we want him back and we think he will be back tomorrow and he will be in for the rest of the season.”

After Cabrera hit Monday, he ran the bases without any hitch or limp. He also fielded ground balls at first base. In all, the workout lasted close to an hour. He was asked to answer some questions afterward but he politely, and a little breathlessly, declined.

“I’m tired, man,” Cabrera said.

Twitter: @cmccosky