With seven games left beginning with Sunday's home finale against the Twins, and the Tigers long since out of contention, there's little reason to push the outfielder. Mahtook had already been playing through the injury after missing a week dealing with the ailment earlier this month.
"Basically I just re-aggravated what I'd been dealing with for a little while," Mahtook said. "I tried to fight through it."
Mahtook aggravated the injury Friday on a Byron Buxton double that caromed off the wall separating seats from the field down the left-field line. Once Mahtook tried to change direction as the ball bounced past him, he felt the groin muscle tighten.
If Mahtook's season is over, he finishes with a .276 batting average, 15 doubles, 12 homers, 38 RBIs and a .787 OPS in 109 games. His 379 plate appearances this season are more than his two seasons for Tampa Bay combined. After beginning the season in a platoon role against lefties, he basically hit and fielded his way into an everyday job -- first in center field once the Tigers demoted JaCoby Jones and Tyler Collins, then in left after the Tigers traded Justin Upton at the end of August.
"I think this is what Tampa Bay envisioned a little bit for him," Ausmus said of Mahtook, whom the Tigers acquired from the Rays last offseason for relief prospect Drew Smith. "Players progress at different rates."