Ausmus on Miggy: 'Even Superman' needs off

Absence in finale not injury-related, just a day of rest for Tigers slugger

Ausmus on Miggy: 'Even Superman' needs off

CLEVELAND -- Brad Ausmus knew the question was coming Wednesday morning, before Detroit's 8-2 loss to the Indians, as soon as the Tigers manager posted a lineup without Miguel Cabrera in it.

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"Even Superman needs a day off," Ausmus said.

Ausmus did not discuss the crime situation in Metropolis on days when Superman is off. The stats, however, show how much of a force Cabrera has been in Cleveland when he comes to town. He's 26-for-42 (.619) with five homers and 16 RBIs against the Indians this season, and 15-for-22 with two homers at Progressive Field.

Ausmus was aware, just as everyone else was. It wasn't the opponent that had his focus, though.

"I know people will say, 'How can you give Miggy a day off?' If you get through 162 games and he doesn't have any day off, they'll also say, 'How can you not give Miggy a day off? He looks tired.' So he's got a day off."

The decision was not injury-related, Ausmus said, though he acknowledged they're still doing preventative maintenance to watch out for any soreness with Cabrera's surgically repaired right foot and ankle. Cabrera said his foot and ankle aren't a problem right now.

By all indications, it was simply a day of rest.

"It was just the timing," Ausmus said. "It's a 12 o'clock game. There's not many pitchers I look at the stat sheet and go, 'Well, Miggy doesn't hit him.' I think David Price is the one he doesn't hit, and he's on his team. You never want Miggy out of the lineup, but you have to have a little bit of vision."

Andrew Romine started in his place at first base and went 1-for-3 with a third-inning double. Victor Martinez, Yoenis Cespedes and J.D. Martinez all moved up in the order.

J.D. Martinez's two-run homer

The Tigers looked flat offensively Wednesday, scoring their only runs on a J.D. Martinez two-run homer. Those were two more runs than the Tigers scored on the other day Cabrera was off this season, a 4-0 Memorial Day loss at Oakland.

They might have looked flat on Wednesday regardless, the way Carlos Carrasco pitched. Still, Cabrera has attracted enough attention from Indians pitchers the last few years that his absence was noticeable.

Still, if it increases Ausmus' chances of having a healthy Cabrera down the stretch, he'll take it.

"People complained when I gave him off-days last year, and then he ended up being Player of the Month in September," Ausmus said. "I don't know if there's a correlation, but I think if guys get off-days, they get mental breaks, I do think down the stretch during the playoff hunt, they understand.

"You give them their breathers the first four months of the season. Miggy's going to be in there [down the stretch] -- when I say the vast majority of the time, that's an understatement."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.