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Tigers’ Cabrera better, likely to play on Saturday

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Detroit — Before Friday’s game there was talk of Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera possibly going on the disabled list if his strained left oblique muscle didn’t respond by the weekend.

By the seventh inning, he was up in the cage, taking swings and available to pinch-hit if needed.

“He will probably play tomorrow,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “He was available to pinch-hit today, but I didn’t want to use him just to use him. Ideally, he would get another full day and night to make sure — but I would be shocked if he doesn’t play tomorrow.”

Cabrera, who missed three games, said before the game that he felt he was getting close to returning. He took batting practice and twice during the game went to the cage to heat up in case he was needed to pinch hit.

The Tigers lost to the Texas Rangers, 5-3, Friday and had the tying and winning runs on base in the ninth. But with J.D. Martinez and hot-hitting Alex Avila up, Ausmus didn’t call on Cabrera, especially not against right-handed closer Matt Bush, who was throwing his fastball between 96 and 99 mph.

“Avila has been swinging the bat as well as anyone in baseball,” Ausmus said. “Plus, he’s a left-handed hitter against a right-handed pitcher. There were only a couple of spots I would have hit Miggy, and I was erring on the side of caution.

“He’s coming back real quickly from this and I didn’t want to risk re-injury.”

Twitter.com: @cmccosky