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Tigers' Leyland, Cabrera co-managing injury concern

The SportsXchange

BOSTON -- Miguel Cabrera returned to Detroit's lineup Tuesday night, maybe for the rest of the month.

Cabrera had an 0-for-4 night in the 2-1 loss to Boston, ended two innings and led off in a third, but was in the lineup for the first time in four games.

Aggravation of an abdominal strain related to a left hip flexor problem put Cabrera out of action for the weekend plus Monday and it now would seem as though Detroit's All-Star third baseman will have to push through this problem through the end of the regular season and beyond.

The Tigers continue to insist playing won't hurt Cabrera but trying to leg out a double last Friday night (he was out by 10 feet) put him out of action.

"You have to be willing to accept what it is, and we're willing to accept it," manager Jim Leyland said. "The only thing he can't do is he can't run.

"He still catches the ball at third. He still throws them out. He still hits the ball over the fence. He still gets hits. He still knocks in runs. He's handicapped a little bit physically, but nobody in here or any place else in the organization would risk hurting a guy long term if he didn't feel he was ready to play."

There's an element of trust between Cabrera, his manager and the Detroit medical staff.

He knows that a less-than-par Cabrera is better than a full-strength somebody else. He wants badly to play but isn't foolish about it.

Leyland consults his trainers and if they say Cabrera can't play, he doesn't play.

"We don't do that here," Leyland said of putting players who can't function into games. "I don't know anyone who does.

"The players are always honest with you. They won't play if they can't play."

The effect the injury has on Cabrera's running is very visible and he has a tough time coming in, bending over to take ground balls.

"It's not a black-and-white issue," head trainer Kevin Rand says. "If it were, it would be easy. But we go through this with players all year long.

"The way I like to say it, is if an athlete tells me he can play, it's not my place to take it away from him."
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