Cleveland — Tigers manager Brad Ausmus feels Miguel Cabrera’s pain.
Ausmus battled chronic back pain throughout the final years of his 18-season major-league career. Cabrera, whose production this season has been diminished as he tries to play through muscle soreness and pain in his lower back, is headed down the same path.
“We actually talked about that the other day,” Ausmus said. “He talked about changing his exercise routine and adding more core exercises to protect it.”
Ausmus battled the problem with physical therapy and exercise and he shared his routine with Cabrera.
“You want the muscles around the vertebra to get stronger to protect the vertebra and keep it from squeezing on the disc,” Ausmus said. “There are things you can do. But the whole goal is to strengthen the muscles around the vertebra.”
Cabrera’s back has been an issue the last couple of years, but it’s seemingly impacted his performance far more this year. It began in March when he competed in the World Baseball Classic and hasn’t really let up.
He changed his diet, losing more than 25 pounds to try to alleviate stress from his back and hips. He takes therapy daily and has had countless manipulations to the spine. Nothing has brought any long-term relief.
Ausmus, though, was adamant that surgery is not an offseason option at this point.
“There has been no discussion, not even a whisper, of him getting surgery,” he said.
Cabrera entered Tuesday’s game hitting .248 with 15 home runs and 59 RBIs — career-lows.
Michael Fulmer underwent successful ulnar nerve transposition surgery Tuesday. The surgery was performed in Pensacola, Fla., by James Andrews.
Ausmus said Fulmer was back in Detroit and would likely be back in the clubhouse when the team returns home on Thursday.
Victor Martinez on Monday had heart ablation surgery to correct his irregular heartbeat and was back in Detroit resting comfortably.
Both players will not return this season.
Buck Farmer can’t explain why he’s been so good on the road this season and so, well, not at Comerica Park.
“My dad said the same thing to me,” said Farmer, who starts the series finale Wednesday. “He told me maybe I shouldn’t start at home. I don’t know what it is. But I hope it continues tomorrow.”
Farmer is 3-0 in his three road starts with a 2.12 ERA and .206 opponent’s batting average. In four starts at Comerica Park he’s 1-2 with a 11.30 ERA and .328 opponent’s average.
“I don’t get it,” he said. “Comerica is a fun park to pitch in. It’s big, kind of a graveyard from the gaps to center. I don’t know. I feel comfortable there, but for some odd reason, it’s like I can’t put it together there.”
Around the horn
One shortstop comes back, another leaves. Jose Iglesias is expected to rejoin the team on Wednesday. He’s been gone for six games after his wife delivered their second son. Dixon Machado left the team Monday night to tend to his expecting wife. He will be back on Friday.
… Outfielder Mikie Mahtook (groin) was held out of the lineup again Tuesday, but he’s getting close to returning. He ran hard for the first time Tuesday.
… Jordan Zimmermann (neck) threw from 100 feet and said he felt good, better than he had on Monday when he just threw lightly, 25 to 30 short tosses. Next step will be to throw off a mound in a day or two.