8/22/2013 12:21 A.M. ET
After injury scare, Miggy returns to lineup
By Jason Beck and Bobby Nightengale / MLB.com
DETROIT -- Miguel Cabrera may have worried those around him by grimacing in the batter's box during a ninth-inning at-bat on Tuesday. However, the Tigers could breathe a sigh of relief as Cabrera was back in the lineup on Wednesday against the Twins and is feeling better than before.
"You're always concerned about him," manager Jim Leyland said. "Obviously, he's been playing hurt for a while now, so I wasn't sure how he was going to be today. But he said he felt better today than he did yesterday. That was good news."
Cabrera punctuated his return with a three-run double in the eighth inning of Detroit's 7-1 victory over the Twins.
Cabrera has been dealing with an abdominal wall strain near his hip flexor for about a month and he tweaked it while swinging through a first-pitch slider. While Cabrera never asked for a trainer, it raised a lot of concern among fans and the team.
"I thought the same thing on the stairs," head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said. "When we got him, we evaluated him and it wasn't too bad. To be honest with you, I had to see what it looked like today to know whether he was going to be OK, going to need a day or two, or whatever the case may be.
"The thing is, he made the grimace, but the way he felt a little better [Wednesday], maybe it was something he needed to kind of work through."
Although Cabrera won't miss any time with the latest scare, the team believes he can recover from his injury while playing. Cabrera's sore knee and bruised shin from foul balls in an at-bat against Yankees closer Mariano Rivera over a week ago have improved.
"It's going to get better for him a little bit slower because he is out there," Rand said. "He's going to tweak it every now and again, because he starts feeling really good and then he starts to do something [that gives him pain]."
The Tigers have discussed the idea of placing Cabrera on the 15-day disabled list twice -- when he initially sustained the injury in Chicago and missed four games and later when he tweaked it against the Phillies and missed three games. However, Rand said he never thought Cabrera's injury would sideline him for the entire 15 days.
"We may have to give him days here, days there, and then we have the comfort to give him three or four days -- obviously we do and we have," Rand said. "But at the same time, you could have disabled him after he tweaked it in that Philadelphia series and he would have missed that whole road trip where he obviously played very, very well."
V-Mart could return to catching this weekend
DETROIT -- Before Wednesday's game against the Twins, Victor Martinez was sitting behind home plate in his catcher's gear, practicing his throws to second base. He hasn't played the position since 2011, but may get an opportunity this weekend against the Mets.
"I'm contemplating -- contemplating only -- catching him a game in New York," manager Jim Leyland said.
Detroit will head to Citi Field to face the Mets beginning on Friday, and the Tigers won't have the luxury of a designated hitter, because they will be playing in a National League park. Instead of being relegated to a pinch-hitting role, Martinez could find some playing time at catcher.
Martinez says he always prepares to play the position in case of emergencies and would be happy to be back there this weekend.
"That's the position I came up to the big leagues in," Martinez said. "I still enjoy it. Unfortunately, I can't do it like I used to do it everyday, but it's always going to be fun."
Pena joins Tigers' list of injured catchers
DETROIT -- The Tigers were down to one healthy full-time catcher on Wednesday night against the Twins after Brayan Pena, Detroit's starter for the past week and a half with Alex Avila on the disabled list, fouled a ball off his right foot during Tuesday's game.
Pena fouled a Glen Perkins pitch off his back foot in the ninth inning and jammed his big toe. Pena stayed in the game and singled, but was clearly hobbling all the way to first base. Bryan Holaday pinch-ran for him.
The toe felt better Wednesday morning, but still not great.
"I woke up and I couldn't move my toe," Pena said. "I was kind of scared last night, because I couldn't even move it. I couldn't even land [on] my toes and I didn't want to hurt my team, especially in that situation."
Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said Pena is considered day to day.
With Avila on the seven-day concussion disabled list, Holaday started at catcher on Wednesday night. Victor Martinez, meanwhile, donned his old catching gear and crouched behind the plate for some early work on Wednesday afternoon before the Tigers took batting practice.
Martinez training for possible action behind the plate this weekend against the Mets, but Leyland said he could be a backup option on Wednesday if Holaday were injured.
Pena, however, gave every indication he could catch in a pinch.
"If he needs me tonight, I'll be ready," Pena said.
Avila to began rehab assignment Thursday
DETROIT -- Tigers catcher Alex Avila worked out on the field at Comerica Park and took batting practice for the second consecutive day on Wednesday afternoon. His next step will be to start a Minor League rehab assignment for Triple-A Toledo on Thursday.
Manager Jim Leyland said the team is in wait-and-see mode for how long Avila's rehab assignment will last.
"Personally, I think you don't want to forget that he hasn't played for 10 days," Leyland said. "You're thrilled to death that he's healthy, but you still can't forget that he hasn't had an at-bat in 10 days."
Avila went on the 7-day disabled list for concussion symptoms on Aug. 11, after he was initially cleared by doctors after the original injury on Aug. 8, playing in one game before symptoms resurfaced. Under Major League Baseball rules, Avila's rehab can't last more than five games.
"The No. 1 thing is to get him back here healthy," Leyland said. "But the next thing is to be productive. He hasn't seen any pitching for 10 days now. That's not easy. I'd hate to bring him into New York to face [Matt] Harvey after sitting off for 12 days."
While an official plan hasn't been set, Leyland's suggestion was to have Avila catch seven innings on Thursday and Friday before playing an entire game as the designated hitter for Toledo on Saturday.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.