COMMENTARY | The best baseball player on the planet is hurting and with the All-Star break on the horizon, Miguel Cabrera needs to swallow his pride and sit out the Midsummer Classic. You wouldn't know it from his numbers, but Cabrera has been dealing with a back/hip injury that is serious enough for manager Jim Leyland to sit him down for a game two weeks ago.
Leyland hasn't been shy when talking to the media about the trouble the injury is causing Cabrera and while it hasn't serious enough to land Miggy on the DL, it is a concern. Leyland, who will be managing the AL team in New York on Tuesday, July 16, has also said he is considering only playing Cabrera an inning or two during the game, even though Cabrera was voted in as a starter.
Finally a Leyland decision every Tigers fan can get behind, but if Leyland is smart, he won't play Cabrera at all.
Cabrera has already turned down New York Yankees slugger Robinson Cano's request to participate in the home run derby because he didn't want to do any further damage. If Cabrera and Leyland both know he is too banged up to be a part of the festivities, they need to make the call for him to not even play.
Sure, the fans voted him in because they want to see the game's most talented player on the national stage with other top players. As another Yahoo! contributor pointed out last week, it's also Cabrera's first start in an All-Star game. But Cabrera and the Tigers are playing for something much bigger and a four-day rest next week would mean more to his team and teammates than any sort of good will with fans ever could.
After the All-Star break, the Tigers have three days off between July 19 and Sept. 1. They only have six days off the rest of the season and will play at least one doubleheader in that time. With 68 games left to play after the break and just 73 days to play them, Cabrera needs all the rest he can get right now.
Cabrera is the single most important player on the Tigers' roster and with only a slim lead in the AL Central, the Tigers cannot afford to have him spend any time on the DL. Pardon the pun, but he may have to carry this team on his ailing back if the Tigers don't turn things around soon.
It won't be the popular decision with MLB brass, but who cares? As much as officials have tried to make the all-star game mean something by determining home-field advantage in the World Series, no one takes the game seriously. The players can pretend like it matters, but in the end, it really doesn't.
If Cabrera is forced into action by MLB, he should play the top half of the first inning and then find a comfy seat on the bench to enjoy the game. Cabrera is in the midst of one of the all-time great stretches by a right-handed hitter and will have plenty of other chances to start an all-star game. Tuesday just shouldn't be one of them.
Matt Durr is a reporter from Michigan who has followed the Detroit Tigers his entire life. He has covered University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University athletics for Annarbor.com. Follow him on twitter @mdurr84.
- Sports & Recreation
- Miguel Cabrera
- Jim Leyland