From the Detroit Free Press comes word that Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera will miss a fourth straight game Friday due to lingering soreness in his left hip flexor. Don Kelly will get the start at third base and Matt Tuiasosopo will play left field as the American League Central-leading Tigers open a three-game set against the Phillies at Detroit’s Comerica Park.
Cabrera has reported some improvement in his hip and could be available to pinch-hit if he makes it through pregame batting practice. The Tigers, who enter play Friday with a three-game division lead over the Indians, aren’t going to rush him back until he’s discomfort-free.
Cabrera, 30, is batting .358/.454/.666 with 31 home runs and 96 RBI in 97 games this season.
Following the Mets’ recent signing of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that fellow first baseman Dominic Smith is likely to start the season with Triple-A Las Vegas. That is contingent, of course, on the veteran Gonzalez’s ability to remain healthy, which isn’t a guarantee.
Smith, 22, struggled last season, batting .198/.262/.395 in 183 plate appearances. The Mets have also expressed concern about Smith’s conditioning. Puma reported in November that as a result of better dietary choices and a daily exercise regimen, Smith had already lost 11-12 pounds.
Gonzalez, 35, didn’t exactly have a stellar 2017 campaign. Along with battling back issues, Gonzalez hit .242/.287/.355 in 252 PA. That the Mets’ Plan A is to go with Gonzalez over Smith says something about their confidence in Smith.