DETROIT -- First baseman Miguel Cabrera returned to the Tigers' lineup for Wednesday's 4-1 loss to the Royals, two days after leaving a game with a left biceps strain. Whether he's in the lineup for Thursday's series opener against the Red Sox depends on how he feels.
Cabrera went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and three groundouts, including a double play, on Wednesday. After the game, manager Brad Ausmus said Cabrera still seemed to be bothered by the injury.
"When he swung and missed, it looked like it bothered him a little bit," Ausmus said. "When he made contact, I don't think it bothered him as much. I just talked to him, but we'll re-evaluate [Thursday]. I'll talk to him again in the morning to see how he is."
Cabrera initially tweaked the biceps a few weeks ago, Ausmus said on Tuesday, then aggravated it while lunging for an errant throw from Daniel Norris on Monday night. The lunge sent Cabrera into Royals batter Cheslor Cuthbert's path down the first-base line, hitting and injuring his shoulder.
Cabrera was open to playing on Tuesday, but Ausmus and Cabrera discussed it, eventually deciding the 33-year-old slugger could use one more day to rest. He neither started nor pinch-hit in that game.
"I always want to play," Cabrera said after Tuesday's game. "Sometimes, you have to step back, get a day off. Try tomorrow again."
Cabrera's return on Wednesday couldn't ignite a Tigers offense that was depleted even before his injury. Detroit scored one run in each contest of the Royals' three-game sweep and has scored 24 runs over the last 10 games.
Before the injury, Cabrera had hit .384 (28-for-73) over his last 19 games, with eight home runs and 20 RBIs.
Entering Thursday's 1:10 p.m. ET contest, the Red Sox hold the lead American League Wild Card spot and are 4 1/2 games ahead of Detroit. Cabrera is 7-for-28 lifetime off Clay Buchholz, Boston's scheduled starter for Thursday.
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.