As they attempt to stay atop the AL Central, the last thing the Detroit Tigers want to see is Miguel Cabrera out with an injury.
The status of the major league’s leading hitter is unknown for Tuesday night’s visit with the Chicago White Sox.
Cabrera aggravated a nagging hip injury in Monday’s 7-3 win when he scored on Victor Martinez’s two-run single in the fifth inning.
Cabrera, who leads the majors with a .358 average and is second in the AL with 31 homers and 96 RBIs, was manning third base in the bottom of that frame but left with one out. Detroit manager Jim Leyland said the Tigers (54-44) are going to “wait and see” on Cabrera’s condition.
“I felt something and I didn’t want to keep hurting myself,” said Cabrera, who will be re-evaluated Tuesday. “I decided to come out, get treatment and try to be ready for tomorrow.”
Cabrera is batting .446 with seven homers in his last 17 games against the White Sox.
“He’s tough. He won’t be out long,” outfielder Torii Hunter said. “I definitely think if you need to rest him a little bit, a couple days, I guess we have to do that. We need him for the long run. If it takes a couple days for him to get where he needs to be, I think we should do it.”
Detroit also is missing .309 hitter Omar Infante because of a sprained left ankle, and he’s not expected to be back until this weekend.
Returning for the first time since serving a five-game suspension for throwing at Tampa Bay’s Ben Zobrist on June 30, Rick Porcello (6-6, 4.80 ERA) will try to win a second straight start against the White Sox (39-57). The right-hander gave up three runs over six innings in an 8-5 victory against Chicago on July 10, his last trip to the mound.
Porcello is 6-1 with a 2.78 ERA in his last eight starts versus the White Sox, and is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in his first two outings this month.
His counterpart, Hector Santiago (3-5, 3.30), has a 2.29 ERA in his first three starts this month but has not received a decision. Santiago has been given a combined four runs of support, though his 7 1-3 innings of one-run ball in a 2-1 loss at Philadelphia on July 13 turned out to be one of his best outings of 2013.
The left-hander matched a season high with nine strikeouts, but was lamenting John Mayberry’s homer with two outs in the seventh.
“I just wanted that one pitch back,” Santiago told the team’s official website. “But other than that one, I feel like everything was good. All my pitches were working. It was a good night all around.”
Santiago will make his first start against the Tigers after posting a 1.64 ERA in seven relief appearances last season. Prince Fielder and Andy Dirks are the only Detroit players to get more than one hit off him, each going 2 for 3.
Paul Konerko, who came off the disabled list Monday, is 11 for 29 (.379) in his career against Porcello. Dayan Viciedo is 6 for 15.