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Cabrera making progress toward return

Special to MLB.com

SEATTLE -- Miguel Cabrera continues taking incremental steps toward returning to the Tigers' lineup.

The 35-year-old slugging first baseman rested before Sunday's series finale at the Mariners one day after he took multiple rounds of batting practice at Safeco Field. Manager Ron Gardenhire said the Tigers' plan is for Cabrera to take BP again on Monday as their road trip continues at Minnesota.

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SEATTLE -- Miguel Cabrera continues taking incremental steps toward returning to the Tigers' lineup.

The 35-year-old slugging first baseman rested before Sunday's series finale at the Mariners one day after he took multiple rounds of batting practice at Safeco Field. Manager Ron Gardenhire said the Tigers' plan is for Cabrera to take BP again on Monday as their road trip continues at Minnesota.

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The 11-time All-Star and two-time American League Most Valuable Player has been on the 10-day disabled list since May 4 because of a strained right hamstring. His return from the DL will be contingent on when he can show the Tigers he is able to run and field ground balls on the move without pain. He might not be able to make those strides until well into the coming week, at the earliest.

"He did fine. He took two groups' worth of [BP on Saturday]," Gardenhire said. "He was feeling pretty goosy. The big key is how he comes back [Sunday] after taking all those swings."

Gardenhire said because the Tigers were due to arrive in Minneapolis from Seattle so late into Monday, Cabrera will hit in the cages in Minnesota on Monday but will take full BP before Tuesday's game.

"[Sunday] is probably a go-get-your treatment, back-off day, and see how he comes out of it," Gardenhire said.

The first realistic time Cabrera could come off the DL might be during Detroit's home series against the White Sox beginning Friday.

"He hasn't run the bases or anything like that. So we've got to get him out on the bases," Gardenhire said. "We've got to get him fielding ground balls. He took some ground balls [Saturday], a little bit ...10 or 15 ground balls. Not really doing much movement. Just standing, infield-in type thing.

"There's things he has to get done to prove to himself and everybody else that he can really get out there and play the game, and dive around and all those things."

The Tigers haven't exactly fallen apart without Cabrera.

John Hicks, who entered the Major Leagues in 2015 as a catcher with the Mariners, hit safely in 14 of his first 17 games in May. He was tied for eighth in the American League among players with at least 60 at-bats with a .400 on-base percentage this month. Gardenhire said Hicks is working hard and improving his footwork and the nuances of playing first base.

The Tigers entered Sunday 7-8 with Cabrera on the disabled list. They started the season 13-17 before he got hurt. They were averaging 4.5 runs per game in their first 15 games with Cabrera on the DL. In their first 30 games with him in the lineup, the Tigers scored 4.3 runs per game.

Zimmermann update

Jordan Zimmermann is also poised to make progress this week in his return from right-shoulder impingement, which landed him on the DL May 6. The right-hander will throw a couple bullpen sessions then could go out on a rehabilitation start in the Minor Leagues next week. The Tigers' preliminary plan is one rehab start for Zimmermann before he could return to their rotation.

"Zimmermann's doing great. He's coming along really good," Gardenhire said.

"He's actually feeling really good. He's really happy with everything."

Left-hander Blaine Hardy is scheduled to make his second spot start for Zimmermann on Monday at Minnesota.

Gregg Bell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Seattle.

Detroit Tigers, Miguel Cabrera