Cabrera underwent surgery to repair the ankle after the 2014 season. He dealt with soreness at times last season on the way to his fourth American League batting title in five years.
"Everybody forgets about my ankle," Cabrera said at the end of last season. "I've been battling my ankle the whole year."
It hasn't been as much of an issue this year, but stretches like this are a reminder why it might never be completely out of Cabrera's consciousness.
"It wouldn't shock me, especially when bad weather is rolling in, that he would feel it the rest of his life," Ausmus said.
The Tigers do not have the designated-hitter slot available on days like this, unless they give Victor Martinez a day off. Given Martinez's success against Chris Sale -- he entered Wednesday 18-for-38 with four home runs in his career off the White Sox lefty -- that wasn't happening.
Combine Wednesday's day off with Thursday's scheduled off-day and Cabrera will have two-plus days to rest his ankle ahead of Friday night, when the Tigers open a critical three-game series against the Royals in Kansas City. Cabrera is expected to return to the lineup for that game.
So, too, is Tigers center fielder Cameron Maybin, who hasn't played since reinjuring his left thumb sliding into second base on Monday. An MRI exam Tuesday confirmed the original diagnosis of a bruise, rather than any structural damage. Maybin was available to pinch-run Wednesday, though the Tigers preferred not have him try to grip a bat at this point.
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.