MRI shows Zimmermann has minor groin strain

MRI shows Zimmermann has minor groin strain

DETROIT -- The Tigers received good news Monday on the injury front. Starter Jordan Zimmermann's MRI results revealed a Grade 1 groin strain, the least severe on the scale, while Miguel Cabrera returned to the starting lineup after leaving Sunday's game with a bruised left knee.

Zimmermann is expected to miss his turn in the rotation this weekend in Oakland, manager Brad Ausmus confirmed, but he is considered day-to-day from there. If he's ready by early next week, the Tigers could get by without needing a fill-in starter for the rotation or a disabled list move for Zimmermann, who is the Tigers' best starter so far this season.

Zimmermann left his start Sunday against the Rays in the sixth inning with a right groin strain. He returned to Comerica Park on Monday and said he felt much improved walking around the clubhouse. The righty didn't work out, but he hopes to throw within the next few days to get a better idea when he'll be ready to pitch in a game.

"Zimm actually came to the field feeling pretty good," Ausmus said. "The fact that he doesn't feel it walking around is a good sign."

The Tigers' upcoming off-day Thursday buys them time to wait and see how Zimmermann feels before having to fill his spot. Though Zimmermann's turn would've come up on Saturday in Oakland, but the club can move Mike Pelfrey, Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez to start on standard four days' rest.

The Tigers would need a fifth starter May 31 against the Angels in Anaheim. If Zimmermann isn't ready by then, Detroit would have to add a starter to fill in. The fact that the Tigers lost a scheduled off-day June 2 for a makeup game against the Yankees means Ausmus can't simply fill a game with relievers in his place.

Cabrera not only was back in the Tigers' lineup Monday, he was listed to start at first base.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. 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.