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Miggy on DL with calf strain, to miss 6 weeks

Tigers call up Marte from Triple-A Toledo to take spot on active roster

DETROIT -- For the first time in his career, Miguel Cabrera is headed to the disabled list. The American League's hitting leader and two-time Most Valuable Player Award winner went on the 15-day DL on Saturday morning with a left calf strain sustained on the basepaths in Friday night's 8-6 victory over the Blue Jays.

An MRI taken on the calf revealed a Grade 3 calf strain -- including tearing of muscle fibers -- which is expected to keep Cabrera out for around six weeks. The Tigers were expecting to get an additional opinion from Dr. Robert Anderson, the specialist who performed surgery last fall on Cabrera's left ankle and foot.

"There's some fibers tearing," manager Brad Ausmus said, "but not to the point where he'll need surgery or anything like that."

In a 13-year career that includes 1,896 games, 2,283 hits, three batting titles, two MVP awards and nine seasons with at least 157 games played, the DL stint is a first Cabrera would've rather avoided. But for a slugger who played through a torn groin in 2013 and a stress fracture in his left foot last year, the calf injury immediately looked like something he wouldn't be able to play through. The diagnosis was close to a worst-case scenario for a team battling to stay in the AL Central and Wild Card races.

"Sometimes you find out more about a team when a player like Miggy goes down," Ausmus said. "We'll see what type of fight we have.

Cabrera sustained the injury taking off from first base on a 3-2 pitch with Victor Martinez at the plate. Cabrera, who had taken off several times during what ended up being an 11-pitch at-bat, pulled up immediately as Martinez fouled off another pitch.

Martinez's at-bat was still alive, but Cabrera's night was done. He grabbed at his left leg as head athletic trainer Kevin Rand ran out from the dugout. Cabrera limped slowly and cautiously back to the clubhouse as Andrew Romine pinch-ran for him.

A six-week absence would keep Cabrera out until mid-August. It also places the Tigers into a quandary leading into the July 31 Trade Deadline, deciding whether it would be worth acquiring help at first base and whether Cabrera's situation affects their status as buyers or sellers.

For now, Ausmus said, the Tigers will play it by ear deciding on who plays at first base. Alex Avila, who played first base for a stint at the University of Alabama, started at first on Saturday for the first time as a Major Leaguer and the second time as a pro.

The Tigers have filled Cabrera's roster spot with Triple-A Toledo third baseman Jefry Marte, having purchased his contract Saturday morning. The 24-year-old, who impressed Tigers officials in Spring Training, won International League Player of the Month honors for the Mud Hens after batting .317 (33-for-104) with eight doubles, eight homers and 25 RBIs in June.

Marte was batting .271 with 20 doubles, 13 homers, 55 RBIs and seven stolen bases this season with Toledo. He has played almost exclusively at third base, but has 10 career games at first over his eight-year Minor League career.

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason.
Read More: Detroit Tigers, Miguel Cabrera