KANSAS CITY -- Manager Ron Gardenhire's fear this week, as Jose Cabrera tried to work his way through a sore left biceps, was that the Tigers slugger would return to the lineup just to leave the game. That happened on Thursday, but for a completely different injury.
The right hamstring Cabrera strained running to first base on a sixth-inning infield single could well prove to be a bigger concern than the biceps spasm he suffered last weekend. It was enough of a worry in the wake of Thursday's 10-6 loss to the Royals that Gardenhire wasn't ruling out a disabled list move.
"We're still waiting to see what [trainers] say," Gardenhire said. "A hamstring strain is nothing to sneeze about, so we'll have to wait and see."
The frustration was evident from Cabrera, who spent the week working to come back from one injury only to sustain another.
"Oh my God, I don't know what to say," Cabrera said. "Just have to wait and see how I feel tomorrow."
Gardenhire and Cabrera had to wait for most of Thursday morning to see if he was ready to return to the lineup. A swelled ankle for Victor Martinez gave Gardenhire the designated hitter slot to use for Cabrera.
Though Cabrera was shaking his left arm after a couple of swings, Gardenhire said that was a matter of adjusting a compression sleeve he was wearing. He made solid contact on his infield single, a liner that skipped off Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar to put runners at first and second with one out. Nicholas Castellanos' ensuing RBI single moved Cabrera to second, but he looked to be in discomfort along the way and called for head athletic trainer Doug Teter.
Niko Goodrum pinch-ran for Cabrera and stayed in the game as the Tigers' designated hitter.
Cabrera had been enjoying an impressive start before this week. His .323 average, .516 slugging percentage, .407 on-base percentage and 21 RBIs all lead the team, while his .942 OPS ranked 11th among American League as of Thursday afternoon.
John Hicks has been filling in for Cabrera at first base for most of the week and could do the same if Cabrera can't play Friday. Goodrum has also been playing first base off and on this season. Martinez expects to ready to return Friday, Gardenhire said.