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Miggy's ailing back to get a needed break

Cabrera not expected to play in final two games vs. Rockies
Special to MLB.com

DENVER -- Miguel Cabrera -- arguably the most productive active player when facing the Rockies -- is not likely to play in the final two games of Detroit's three-game set in Colorado following his early exit from Monday's series opener with lower back tightness.

"He's still a little sore," manager Brad Ausmus said before Tuesday's game at Coors Field. "He's probably not going to play today or tomorrow and give him the off-day [Thursday]. We'll see how he is tomorrow. If he comes in and says, 'I feel great,' he might go out."

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DENVER -- Miguel Cabrera -- arguably the most productive active player when facing the Rockies -- is not likely to play in the final two games of Detroit's three-game set in Colorado following his early exit from Monday's series opener with lower back tightness.

"He's still a little sore," manager Brad Ausmus said before Tuesday's game at Coors Field. "He's probably not going to play today or tomorrow and give him the off-day [Thursday]. We'll see how he is tomorrow. If he comes in and says, 'I feel great,' he might go out."

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Cabrera did not appear in the Tigers' 7-3 loss to the Rockies on Tuesday.

Cabrera, a two-time MVP and 11-time All-Star, is a .409 career hitter in 159 at-bats against the Rockies, the highest average among any active player. He has 12 doubles, a triple, 10 homers, 31 RBIs and 32 runs in 43 games against the Rockies. At Coors Field, he's even better, hitting .425 with five homers, seven doubles, a triple, 15 runs and 16 RBIs.

If Cabrera sits the final two games of the series before Thursday's off-day, he can go home to Detroit rested enough to perhaps at least get back in the lineup as the designated hitter. The Tigers open a series at home against the Indians on Friday.

"He told me yesterday it didn't bother him swinging, it was more standing around on defense," Ausmus said.

Cabrera said Monday night that he'd been battling the back issue throughout the season. He's on pace to hit below .300 for the first time since 2008 -- when he hit .292 with 37 homers and 127 RBIs -- and only the fourth time in his 14 big league seasons. He's hitting .253 this season, 64 points below his career average.

"It started in the WBC, so it's reared its head a number of times," Ausmus said. "I know the back was an issue, and he came out of a game and then didn't play or something. Whether that did affect him going forward, my guess is probably yes."

Cabrera experienced some back issues in 2016, according to Ausmus, though the issues are nothing like what he's experienced this year.

"They certainly don't help his performance," Ausmus said of the issues. "Quite frankly, I think he's going to probably deal with it the rest of his career -- the back issues at times arriving. I had the same issues the last 10 years of my career."

When Cabrera came out of Monday's game, Ausmus briefly considered the idea of getting him some extra rest by encouraging Cabrera to accept his seven-game suspension -- currently under appeal -- for his role in Thursday's melee with the Yankees, but Ausmus decided not to push the idea.

"I don't think we're going to do that right now.," Ausmus said Tuesday.

With rosters expanding on Friday and with the designated hitter in play for the rest of the season, the Tigers have plenty of options to make the most of their resources and do what they can to help Cabrera heal.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver. He covered the Tigers on Tuesday.

Detroit Tigers, Miguel Cabrera