Gardenhire Responds To Cabrera's Injury Comments: "I Agree With Him"

Cabrera said on Tuesday that he's done playing through injuries, a hallmark of his Hall-of-Fame career.

Will Burchfield
May 16, 2018 - 11:57 am

© Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

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Ron Gardenhire understands where Miguel Cabrera is coming from, largely because he knows what the slugger's going through. Cabrera said on Tuesday that he's done playing through injuries, a hallmark of his Hall-of-Fame career, and that he won't return from the hamstring, back and hip issues that have sidelined him since May 4 until he's 100 percent healthy. 

Don't blame him, said Gardenhire. 

"Every player wants to play healthy, and Miguel’s played through a lot already this year -- beat up, playing with his sore legs -- and we want him healthy. I don’t want to run him out there and let him kill himself trying to play hurt, so I agree with him," Gardenhire said Wednesday morning before the Tigers' series finale versus the Indians.

Cabrera was eligible to come off the 10-day DL on Monday, but remains sidelined. The strained hamstring that initially put him on the shelf is mostly healed, but recurring stiffness in his back, hip and legs is delaying his return. And Cabrera, 35, has no intention of rushing back into action as he may have in years past. 

He learned his lesson last season when he battled through multiple injuries and put up the worst numbers of his career. He entered this season healthy and was hitting .323 with a .924 OPS before going down at the beginning of this month. 

"Let’s get him healthy, that’s our goal, to get him healthy and get him back on the field like he was when he started. I agree, playing hurt, that doesn't do him any good," said Gardenhire. "We all know you’re a better player when you’re healthy, and that’s what we want to get him. That’s what the trainers are working on and he’s working on it." 

Cabrera has yet to do any baseball activity since landing on the DL. He's been running on the treadmill the last few days, and the next step in his rehab is running on the field. That figures to be soon. 

On Tuesday, Cabrera said he's done taking the field when he's not fully healthy. 

"I (went) through a lot last year. I'm not doing the same thing this year because nobody appreciates when you play hurt, so I'm going to take my time and play when I'm good. I played a lot of years hurt here in Detroit, nobody appreciates that. But when you're doing bad, they crush you. They crush you," Cabrera said with a laugh. "They say you're bad, go home, you don't deserve anything...you're past your time, you're old, so I say, okay, I'm done." 

These were lighthearted comments, not shots at the fans. They were honest comments, too, even if Cabrera delivered them with a smile. 

"I think he might have been kind of screwing around with you guys a little bit when he said it, but it’s true," Gardenhire said. "We want him healthy, he wants to be healthy and that way he can play better and enjoy the game himself rather than limping around. That’s a goal of every player." 

The Tigers are taking all the necessary precautions to ensure that when Carbera returns, he returns for good. 

'We have to be very careful and make sure that we get it right, so that when he comes back we're not dealing with anything," Gardenhire said.