Realistically, Leyland could have just pointed to his quote from Sunday, when Cabrera was out of the lineup.
"If he's OK to play, I'm going to play him," Leyland said. "Not to say that I won't rest him."
In other words, with the Tigers needing some sort of combination of two wins/two Indians losses to clinch a division title, Cabrera was going to be in the lineup if he felt up to it.
Cabrera said after Sunday's game that he felt improved from Saturday, when he left with soreness in his groin after a ninth-inning walk. He estimated that he's at 80 percent to 90 percent strength.
But he looked as though he was moving at much less than that on his first-inning groundout to third. It was a routine ground ball he had no hope of beating even at full health, but he was noticeably slower than he was even last week.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.