Cabrera is listed as day-to-day. It's the first injury to a member of the Tigers lineup since the regular season began.
Cabrera, the biggest of Detroit's many acquisitions over the offseason, had been dealing with a tight quadriceps early in Spring Training, but played through it. He said after the game that this injury was much the same.
Cabrera said he initially injured it in a rundown play on Wednesday. He could feel it when he tried to run during batting practice Thursday morning.
"He came out for batting practice today and it was bothering him," manager Jim Leyland said.
Cabrera was available for pinch-hitting on Thursday, and he had a bat in his hands swinging in the dugout during the ninth inning. He hopes to be back in the lineup for Friday's series opener against the White Sox.
"We'll see how it feels tomorrow," Cabrera said. "I want to play. I want to play. Hopefully tomorrow."
Cabrera entered the day 1-for-8 through two games this season. His hit was a solo homer on Opening Day off Royals starter Gil Meche.
The injury led to a shuffling of the lineup, starting with Brandon Inge. Detroit's starting center fielder for the first two games in place of injured Curtis Granderson moved to third base in Cabrera's place. Inge ended up contributing Detroit's lone run on a seventh-inning homer.
Clete Thomas, who took the final spot on the Tigers' roster out of Spring Training when Granderson went on the disabled list with a broken right middle finger, received his first Major League start in center field and took the leadoff spot. Edgar Renteria moved down to seventh.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.