Miguel Cabrera stepped into the batter’s box Friday at Comerica Park and completed the final hurdle in his return to the Detroit Tigers. The 38-year-old sustained a mild left biceps strain April 10 against Cleveland, sending him to the 10-day injured list.
Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez — who traveled to Detroit from the alternate training site in Toledo to throw to Cabrera — pitched the 19-year MLB veteran a live batting practice session.
Manager AJ Hinch was pleased with the results. Cabrera will be activated from the injured list Saturday or Sunday during the four-game series with the Kansas City Royals.
“This was Miggy’s last test,” Hinch said Friday. “He’s going to do some ground balls and get a little extra work in, and then we need to make a decision of whether we play him tomorrow or we play him Sunday and give him a day off tomorrow. I’ll meet with him and make a determination.”
Cabrera took batting practice inside Tuesday and Wednesday but went outside Thursday in 40-degree weather to swing. On Friday, as the temperate jumped above 60 degrees, Cabrera faced live pitching to complete his rehabilitation.
This season, Cabrera is batting .125 (3-for-24) with one double, one home run, three RBIs, three walks and four strikeouts in seven games. He is nearing two treasured milestones — 131 hits away from 3,000 and 12 home runs away from 500.
He hit .250 with a team-high 10 homers and 35 RBIs in 57 games last year.
Cabrera has played four games at first base and three games as the designated hitter in 2021. Before Opening Day, he hadn’t taken the field at first base since June 18, 2019. Because his biceps injury occurred while swinging the bat, Hinch won’t tinker with his defensive usage.
“The first game back, he’s going to play first base,” Hinch said. “Position-wise, it’s going to stay the same.”
Cabrera suffered a season-ending left biceps injury in 2018 and required surgery.
Prospect on the move
Right-hander Matt Manning is soon transitioning from the team’s spring training facility in Lakeland, Florida, to Toledo. The 23-year-old prospect will pitch with Triple-A Toledo, and is expected to make his MLB debut later this season.
The Tigers plan to give Manning one start with the alternate site team before the Triple-A season begins May 4. He is the organization’s No. 3 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.
Manning allowed five runs on 11 hits and five walks in nine innings during spring training. He pitched five games (one start) and logged eight strikeouts. In 2019, he pitched 133⅔ innings (24 starts) for Double-A Erie, cruising to a 2.56 ERA, 38 walks and 148 strikeouts.
Right-handers Wily Peralta and Rony Garcia are also transitioning from minor-league spring training to Toledo.
The Tigers signed Peralta to a minor-league contract Feb. 18, but he didn’t go to spring training because of visa and travel issues. After the Tigers departed for Detroit to start the regular season, the 31-year-old showed up in Lakeland for minor-league camp. He has eight years of MLB experience, starting 120 of his 211 career games.