"If this was September 19 and an important game and we weren't down by 10, it would've been a different story," Ausmus said. "There was no reason to take a risk. Might as well get him out of there."
With Detroit trailing 12-2, Cabrera singled to left but was slow leaving the batter's box and came up clutching his right leg. Ausmus and trainer Kevin Rand came out of the dugout to check on Cabrera at first base, before escorting him back to the dugout.
Cabrera said after the game that he was feeling better, reiterating that it was just a cramp.
He had been in the lineup as the designated hitter Sunday before being replaced on first base by pinch-runner Bryan Holaday.
Cabrera is batting .322 with a .533 slugging percentage this season.
Joba Chamberlain also left Sunday's game with a bruised right ankle, suffered trying to cover first base on a close play with the Rangers' Rougned Odor in the eighth inning. He stayed in the game for another batter, walking Shin-Soo Choo, but was pulled after that.
"I just got kicked," Chamberlain said. "As I hit the bag, it felt like I just hit my foot."
It's the same ankle Chamberlain dislocated in a trampoline accident in 2012. There was no initial swelling immediately after the game, but it was bandaged and treated just in case.
"Just trying to make sure [it doesn't worsen]," Chamberlain said. "Obviously I don't want to get anybody up [in the bullpen] in that situation, so that's frustrating."
Chamberlain, too, is listed as day to day.
Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.