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Despite back injury, Cabrera will keep plugging

MLB.com @beckjason

ARLINGTON -- Miguel Cabrera played through everything from a groin tear to a fractured ankle over the years when the Tigers were winning division titles and needed him down the stretch. He's taking a similar approach down the stretch this year, with a playoff spot pretty well out of sight and a cantankerous back acting up again in a different spot than before.

Cabrera, who returned to the lineup Tuesday after two games on the bench, said he hasn't considered shutting down for the season, and probably never will.

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ARLINGTON -- Miguel Cabrera played through everything from a groin tear to a fractured ankle over the years when the Tigers were winning division titles and needed him down the stretch. He's taking a similar approach down the stretch this year, with a playoff spot pretty well out of sight and a cantankerous back acting up again in a different spot than before.

Cabrera, who returned to the lineup Tuesday after two games on the bench, said he hasn't considered shutting down for the season, and probably never will.

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"That's not me," he said.

It's also not the Tigers at this point. With the season fading, it's up to veteran players to set the tone for the Tigers to remain motivated. Though fellow Tigers veteran Justin Verlander noted the fleeting feelings after wins and losses alike, Verlander said there should be no lack of motivation down the stretch.

Video: DET@TEX: Verlander gets Gallo to go down swinging

"Yeah, it stinks, but that's part of the game," Verlander said after Tuesday's loss. "We've been pretty fortunate here to be in the hunt for 10 out of my 12 years at this point of the season. I've been very fortunate and hopefully that can continue, but for right now, I think you have to go out there and do your job. We're all professionals. We get paid a lot of money to play this game, and I still take extreme pride in going out there and doing everything that I can to help us win a game."

That's the tone manager Brad Ausmus is counting on to help keep this team out of a late-season free fall, though Detroit entered Wednesday's game against the Rangers having lost nine of its last 11 to fall 13 games under .500 for the first time since the end of the 2015 season.

"Players have a job to do, to play baseball and play to win," Ausmus said. "If they don't do it the right way, someone's gonna take their spot, simple as that. So that should be motivation. But these guys have too much pride. They're here because they have pride in what they do and they're good at it. That pride doesn't go away just because the team isn't doing well. You still want to perform, and you still want to win."

That said, the recent struggles are wearing on them.

"It's not fun to go through," Ausmus said. "We've been through it before. We just have to play better, simple as that. We have to pitch better. We have to hit better. We have to manage better. We have to coach better. We just have to be better, because this ain't gonna cut it for the next month and a half, I'll tell you that."

Quick hits

Michael Fulmer believes he has spotted and corrected a flaw in his delivery in his first throwing session after Monday's loss. He adjusted the position of his throwing hand as he grips the ball before bringing it up, in order in eliminate an unnecessary turn of the hand to get the ball in throwing position.

• Right-hander Edward Mujica, designated for assignment earlier in the week, cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Toledo.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Detroit Tigers