Detroit — Miguel Cabrera told manager Ron Gardenhire before the game that he felt better and he wanted to take some swings in the batting cage and test his sore left biceps.
“I think he saw his numbers against (Rays starter) Chris Archer,” Gardenhire said, with a grin. “I really do. That he wants to go test it is a good sign for us.”
But the decision had already been made by the medical staff. Cabrera was going to be given a second day off to let the muscle heal.
“I’d love to have him available to pinch-hit,” Gardenhire said. “But we have to make sure he’s not going to go out, take a swing and do something worse. We have to be clear (that it’s fully healed). He wants to get back out there, I know that for sure.
“But we have to be sure. The trainers and I have talked and it was decided that he needs another day.”
Cabrera, who injured his biceps on Sunday, has done significant damage against Archer -- .389 (7 for 18), .778 slugging percentage, .476 on-base percentage with two homers and six RBIs.
Slipping and sliding
Niko Goodrum replaced Cabrera in the lineup Tuesday, but the Tigers nearly lost him hours before the first pitch.
Goodrum was out at first base during early fielding practice for pitchers. He was also working with Gardenhire on making short throws to the bag. On one of the first balls hit to him, he slipped in the wet grass and fell hard on his wrist.
“We’re out there talking about staying under control and he’s not wearing spikes,” Gardenhire said. “Lesson Number One: Put your spikes on when the grass is wet and you probably won’t slip. Yeah, it scared me. But he said he was OK.”
Goodrum finished the drill and went through batting practice with no discomfort.
Gardenhire keeps threatening to convert him into the Tigers' emergency catcher. Goodrum donned the mask on Monday and warmed up Jordan Zimmermann between innings.
"Oh you saw that, huh," Goodrum said. "Little different. Putting that mask on and looking through that mask. But it was cool."
Around the horn
The Tigers starting rotation posted the fifth lowest ERA in the American League in the month of April — 3.89. They trailed the Astros (2.44), Red Sox (3.26), Indians (3.28) and Yankees (3.77).
… Center fielder Leonys Martin (sore hamstring) returned to the lineup Tuesday. “I can’t take him on the bench anymore,” Gardenhire joked. “He’s driving me crazy — that high-pitched voice.”
… The Tigers have displayed a high battle-level this season, fighting back often. They’ve scored 49 of their 124 runs in the seventh inning or later. It’s a bitter trait, though, for a team that is 11-16. “You can only use that war cry — We almost came back — so many times,” Gardenhire said. “That’s no fun for a baseball player or an athlete. You’ve got to win games. You’ve got to figure out a way to get that one more hit. That’s what we’re looking for.”
Rays at Tigers
First pitch: 1:10 p.m., Wednesday
TV/radio: FSD, 97.1
LHP Blake Snell (4-1, 2.52), Rays: Good luck. This is one stingy lefty. Opponents are hitting .196 off his 95-96 mph four-seam fastball, .107 against his slider and .174 off his change-up. His WHIP is under 1 (0.95). He’s allowed just 11 extra-base hits in 137 plate appearances.
RHP Michael Fulmer (1-2, 2.76), Tigers: Can the Tigers score the guy some runs? Fulmer has gotten three runs of support or less in four of his five starts. In his last two starts, with his fastball back up to 96 mph, he’s allowed two runs and struck out 13 in 13 innings. He’s allowed 12 extra-base hits in 122 plate appearances, 11 to left-handed hitters.