The Detroit Tigers have been through quite the odyssey of injuries this year, with the knee injury to Matt Moore ending his season, Jordan Zimmermann still recovering, and the combination of Jordy Mercer and Josh Harrison trading off injuries since the start of the year. But the one player the Tigers desperately hoped to keep healthy all season was Miguel Cabrera.
Cabrera missed most of the 2018 season with a ruptured biceps tendon, but seemed to be in good shape coming into 2019. In spite of an obvious reduction in power, he was still hitting .284/.356/.356 through May. Then on May 31st with the Tigers playing the Atlanta Braves, Cabrera left the game with right knee soreness. Over the weekend he received an MRI, but neither he nor the Tigers were willing to risk a season on just one result, and opted to get a second opinion.
According to reports on Tuesday, after visiting four different specialists, Cabrera was presented with the option of a season-ending knee surgery, but was told by doctors he could continue to play if he desired, and treat the knee as a day-to-day concern. Cabrera, naturally, opted to continue his season. He apparently said, “I’m done with surgeries.”
When reporters asked Tigers head athletic trainer Doug Teter about the injury, he did not seem overly concerned about its severity, but did say it would be something that would be a part of Cabrera’s life for the remainder of his playing career.
Tigers trainer Doug Teter: "MRI showed chronic changes in his knee that are a natural result of a long athletic career...We will treat it symptomatically and take it day by day and read how he feels that day and go from there."— Chris McCosky (@cmccosky) June 4, 2019
For the time being, Cabrera has returned to active play for Tuesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays, and he will be taking on a designated hitter role for the foreseeable future. It’s likely this may be the final push to make him take that DH role permanently in order to limit the risk to his knee over the long term.
“The only advice I can say to young kids is take care of their body when they have to," Miguel Cabrera said. "When they have something, stop playing for a week and come back. Don’t play through pain, because you’re going to pay the price later.”— Jason Beck (@beckjason) June 4, 2019
In other Tigers injury news, second baseman Josh Harrison will undergo surgery to repair his hamstring, with an expected 6-8 week recovery time. Jordy Mercer, who left a rehab game early last week. That rehab has now been further delayed while he continues treatment.
Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario has been placed on the 10-day injured list for left shoulder inflammation.