This is about the worst news you could give a Detroit Tigers’ fan. Miguel Cabrera left Tuesday night’s game in the third inning after a painful swing. He was clearly in pain in his left biceps, and considering that he’d already missed time in late April for a biceps issue, the prognosis didn’t seem promising. After an MRI, the severity of the injury was obvious. Chris McCosky of the Detroit News reported via Twitter that Cabrera had ruptured a biceps tendon, and will undergo season-ending surgery.
In the post-game scrum, manager Ron Gardenhire understandably refused to speculate on the long-term prognosis for Cabrera. But he did emphasize that this was a major injury. The Tigers slugger only returned from the 10-day disabled list on June 1, after missing most of May with a right hamstring strain. Heading into Tuesday night’s game he was hitting .299, with a 128 wRC+ but with only three home runs.
To repeat: Cabrera ruptured the tendon in his left biceps and will require season-ending surgery. Hicks will play first base. Greiner stays. Ronny Rodriguez coming back for now. Tigers might explore other options down the road— Chris McCosky (@cmccosky) June 13, 2018
Miguel Cabrera just walked by the clubhouse entrance wearing a brace on his left arm. He smiled and said he'd talk to reporters tomorrow.— Evan Woodbery (@evanwoodbery) June 13, 2018
Catcher Grayson Greiner had previously been added to the 25-man roster on Sunday, sending reliever Zac Reininger back to Triple-A. Because John Hicks has been Cabrera’s backup all season, and the Tigers had no particular need for three catchers, speculation has been ongoing as to the underlying reason.
Cabrera is on year three of an eight-year/$248M contract that expires after the 2023 season, though 2024 will require an $8M buyout. It’s a contract that is already a sunk cost, and with the Tigers not looking like contenders any time soon, was always going to be a burden on the organization at some point. Still it remained difficult not to hope for at least a temporary resurgence for one so talented. Cabrera has played through some serious injuries over the years and missed significant time in both 2015 and 2017. With the 2018 season lost, it’s hard to be optimistic about what’s to come.