Tigers' AJ Hinch changes mind, will rest Miguel Cabrera for series finale in Baltimore

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Baltimore — Tigers manager AJ Hinch is so meticulous and thorough in his preparation, he almost never wavers after he makes a decision. 

This one was different. It didn't feel right. It kept eating at him. He slept on it. And on Thursday morning, he changed his mind. 

After announcing Wednesday night that Miguel Cabrera, one home run shy of 500 for his career, would start on Thursday, Hinch decided to rest him. 

"I really wanted to play him, but I when I got back into the clubhouse and the more I thought about it, the more I didn't feel good about it," Hinch said. "I see what Miggy has to do to prepare himself. It was close to midnight (after the Tigers' 5-2 win) and he's in the tub and getting his postgame treatment. 

"I took a shower, went back to the hotel and I still didn't feel good about it. But I told myself I will sleep on it."

Miguel Cabrera is not in the Tigers' starting lineup for Thursday's series finale in Baltimore.

When he woke up, he first texted Cabrera, then general manager Al Avila, who is on the trip, and then had a conversation with president and CEO Christopher Ilitch. All were on board with the change of plans.

"I wanted everyone to understand, before they read it in a Tweet or a story, that's what the motivation was and I wanted to be clear with my motivation to the organization as to why I changed my mind," Hinch said.

Because if it's a tug of war between chasing a milestone and Cabrera’s health and wellness, health and wellness will win out every time.

"We played two rain-delayed games in excessive heat," Hinch said, acknowledging the heat index was expected to be over 100 degrees at game time Thursday. "Obviously, there is the component of hitting 500. I have no idea if it would happen today.

"But our fans, everybody back in Detroit, I want them to be a part of it. I can get caught up in wanting it to happen as soon as possible. But I have no idea if it's going to happen over the homestand."

The Tigers start a six-game homestand Friday, but Hinch was adamant that neither Ilitch nor Avila forced his hand in this.

"Remarkably, and I do appreciate this, Chris and Al, the business people, nobody said a word to me about it," Hinch said. "To their credit, they were very open to whatever was best for Miggy and what was best for our team. 

"At a time when it would have been easy to step in and try to lean on me and the decision-making process, I love the fact that they stayed out of it and allowed it to naturally end."

Hinch was asked if Cabrera would be available pinch-hit Thursday and he just rolled his eyes.

"After everything I just said?" he laughed. "He's 100% healthy. But let's just win by four runs and not worry about it."


Twitter: @cmccosky