Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said last night that Miguel Cabrera‘s back problems are likely not something that will just get better and go away. He thinks they’ll be chronic:
“Quite frankly, I think he’s going to have to deal with it the rest of his career. Probably, it’ll come and go. What you don’t want to do is make yourself worse, or create a bad habit that impacts performance or creates another problem.”
This came after Cabrera was held out of the Tigers’ lineup last night, which came a day after leaving Monday’s series opener against the Rockies with lingering lower back tightness. It’s been bothering him since the World Baseball Classic in March and is almost certainly contributing to his career-worst season. The former two-time MVP and Triple Crown winner is batting .253/.339/.406 with only 14 homers and 57 RBI in 113 games.
Cabrera, 34, is owed more than $185 million from the Tigers on a contract that runs through 2023. If the back issues “come” more than “go,” to use Ausmus’ terms, this could wind up being one of the worst contracts in baseball history, at least on the back end.
The Cardinals have placed right-hander Carlos Martinez on the 10-day disabled list with a right oblique strain, per a team announcement on Saturday. The move is retroactive to July 20. No definite timetable has been set for his return to the rotation yet, but interim manager Mike Shildt told reporters he feels confident that Martinez will only need to skip one start before taking the mound again.
Martinez, 26, sustained the injury while trying to snare a line drive during Thursday’s 9-6 loss to the Cubs. It hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for the righty this season, as he lost nearly four weeks to a right lat strain and pitched to a 5.32 ERA after returning to the Cardinals’ roster in early June. Overall, however, his numbers look a little stronger: He’s 6-6 in 17 starts with a 3.39 ERA, 4.5 BB/9 and 8.4 SO/9 through 95 2/3 innings.
In a corresponding move, right-handed reliever John Brebbia has been recalled from Triple-A Memphis. The 28-year-old Brebbia has already enjoyed three short-lived stints in the majors this season; he currently holds a cumulative 4.13 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 9.9 SO/9 and two saves in 32 2/3 innings with the club.