Though Cabrera came up limping as he rounded second base following Curtis Granderson's second-inning single, he said he actually felt it as he went to first base on his own base hit. It wasn't a play he needed to beat out, but he had to accelerate out of the batter's box.
"I felt the same thing when I was running from first to second," Cabrera said. "I felt a little pinch. I didn't want to make it worse."
His visible discomfort at second brought manager Jim Leyland and head athletic trainer Kevin Rand out of the dugout to attend to him. Cabrera convinced them he was fine to remain in the game, but he was clearly hobbled as he trotted home on Brandon Inge's ensuing two-run double, enough so that Granderson appeared to help him back into the dugout.
That was it for Cabrera, Detroit's cleanup hitter and most important cog in its lineup. Jeff Larish replaced him at first base for the top of the third inning with the Tigers leading, 3-0.
"He wasn't sure if it was a cramp or a pull," Leyland said. "Actually, I probably made a mistake. We probably should've taken him out right there [at second], to be honest with you. When you saw him coming around third, you could tell it was bothering him."
As far as how long that will be, Leyland wants to wait for an answer until Friday, after the Tigers medical staff re-evaluates Cabrera.
"We'll know more tomorrow," Leyland said. "It doesn't appear to be too serious, but I've been through that before, so I don't want to speculate. Tomorrow, we'll have more information."
Any lengthy absence would be especially damaging for a Tigers offense that has struggled around him. Detroit has tried to find a consistent threat to bat behind him, and recently moved Granderson into the fifth spot for RBI opportunities. While Magglio Ordonez has regained his hitting stroke batting ahead of Cabrera in the third spot, Ordonez continues to search for power, with two home runs and 19 RBIs.
Cabrera doesn't expect a long absence, disabled list or otherwise.
"I don't think so," Cabrera said. "I think it's no big deal, but let's see how I feel tomorrow."
Reliever Zach Miner also left the game with a cramp in his right calf after four innings of relief. He said the injury was minor and that he doesn't expect to miss any time.