Miguel Cabrera's season is over.
Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire announced after a 6-4 loss to the Twins on Tuesday night that Cabrera suffered a ruptured left biceps tendon while swinging at a pitch from Jake Odorizzi in the third inning. Gardenhire said the injury will require surgery.
Cabrera immediately dropped his bat and motioned to the dugout that something was wrong. He walked down the steps and teammates knew that something was terribly wrong with a player who has played through pain repeatedly over the years.
Cabrera first injured his the biceps on April 29 and missed three games. Then he went on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain.
"Definitely a big blow for our ballclub and that young man," Gardenhire said of Cabrera. "He's been trying to come back and I feel terrible for him. He feels terrible. We gotta try and help him get through this thing. Very sad day for our baseball team though. He's a special player, a special person to have around here. That's a blow. I feel terrible when I saw him do that."
Gardenhire said catcher John Hicks, who filled in admirably when Cabrera was on the DL, will get the bulk of the playing time at first base.
Grayson Greiner, who was called up on Tuesday from Triple-A Toledo, will remain with the Tigers as the backup catcher to James McCann. Gardenhire announced that Ronny Rodriguez will be called up from the Mud Hens.
"You can't replace a guy like that," McCann said of Cabrera. "What he brings to the table, as a hitter in our lineup, but also as just a veteran in the clubhouse. You can't replace it. Hicks did a good job early in the year, stepping in and filling his void. But, you're talking about season-long void. It's different than just a couple weeks."
Cabrera, 35, batted .299 with 11 doubles, three home runs and 22 RBIs this season.
"It's been a rough go for him and I know how hard he worked this off-season to get his body right," McCann said, pointing to how Cabrera battled back from back issues that bothered him last season. "He came into camp in extremely good shape. You can't help but feel bad for the guy."
McCann said it was obvious from the way Cabrera reacted after the swing that he was seriously injured.
"You watch a player and they don't even pick up the bat and they walk to the dugout? They know something's wrong," McCann said. "They're not fighting to stay in the game, especially a guy like that? You know how they compete and a guy like that, not even trying to stay in the game, you know it is bad."
Nicholas Castellanos, who has stepped up as a leader in the clubhouse this season, tried to do that in the aftermath of the Cabrera news.
"What is there to do now but just continue to look forward and move forward," Castellanos said. "Everybody's gotta step up."
Castellanos said after the third inning he ran up and saw Cabrera in the trainer's room and "he kind of had his bicep bent."
"He said he felt a pop," Castellanos said. "That was pretty much all I got."
Castellanos said the clubhouse was "somber" for a short while after learning that Cabrera would need season-ending surgery.
Gardenhire addressed the players, Castellanos said, and told the them to win on Wednesday. With that, Castellanos said he turned music on in the clubhouse so the players could try to move past the latest loss.
"Now we gotta step up, myself included," Castellanos said. "Everybody. Everybody has to do their part to pick up the slack. And you know, it starts tomorrow."
Nobody on the roster can replace Cabrera, who won the Triple Crown in 2012 and AL MVP in 2012-2013.
John Hicks, 28, will be asked to do so for the foreseeable future. He went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored on Tuesday. He's batting .285 with eight doubles, five home runs and 22 RBIs in 42 games.
"If (Hicks) does how he did last time, we're not going to have any complaints," Castellanos said. "He had a lot of big hits and drove in a lot of runs. And the more he played over there, the more sure-handed he got at first. We all got a lot of confidence in Hicksy stepping up and doing the job."
Castellanos, who is batting .316 after going 0-for-4 with a walk on Tuesday, acknowledged there is now more to do help the team overcome a player like Cabrera.
"Now it's just more being kind of the voice and making sure everybody else is feeling good and no one is down," Castellanos said. "No one is questioning themselves and everybody is going out doing their thing. That's all really I can do. It started with going and putting music on in the clubhouse after that game today. We lost. We got another one tomorrow.
"Sulking and being in a bad mood and dwelling on what happened ain't going to help."
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