BOSTON -- Miguel Cabrera and his bruised left hand could be back in the Tigers' lineup as soon as Wednesday, depending on the swelling around his left thumb.
For now, he's day-to-day after his hit-by-pitch in Tuesday's opening inning started a wild night for the Tigers and Red Sox.
"Right now, it's sore," Cabrera said after the game. "We'll see how it feels tomorrow. If there's no pain, I can play tomorrow."
Cabrera, who was hit by a pitch in Monday night's series opener, was up in the first inning with two runners on when he took an 0-2 fastball at 90 mph off the base of his left thumb from Red Sox starter Junichi Tazawa. He was shaking his hand repeatedly as head athletic trainer Kevin Rand ran out of the dugout to examine him. Cabrera clearly wanted to stay in the game, pulling away from Rand as he was examining one of Cabrera's fingers.
"Right there, it was OK," Cabrera said. "But when I sat down [in dugout] and I take a swing, it was bothering me. I was worried at that time."
Cabrera stayed in and scored on Brandon Inge's single as the Tigers batted around. Once he came back up in the second inning, however, the injury still seemed to be bothering him as he shook his hand again after a swing.
"So when I went to hit, my first swing, I felt it," Cabrera said.
X-rays on Cabrera's hand were negative for any fractures.
Cabrera went into the Tigers clubhouse, but he came back out in a hurry minutes later when both benches cleared in the bottom of the inning after Kevin Youkilis charged Rick Porcello following a hit-by-pitch. An unidentified Red Sox player separated Cabrera from the middle of the fray.
As Tigers players explained what happened leading up to the fracas, Cabrera clearly was on their minds.
"It's baseball," catcher Gerald Laird said. "Miggy's a big slugger in the middle of our lineup, and you've got to protect your sluggers. Today, that wasn't intentional, but that's the second time they hit him, and they hit two guys yesterday. That's just part of the game."
While the Tigers have had a balanced offensive attack recently, Cabrera remains their clear offensive run producer from the cleanup spot. Any loss of his bat for an extended period would make a big impact on their late-season drive to hold onto the lead in the American League Central. Cabrera is hitting .329 this season, with 23 home runs and 67 RBIs. He's the only Tigers regular batting higher than .280 this season.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.