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Cabrera may return for opener of A's-Tigers series

DETROIT -- There is a body of thought that the Detroit Tigers should simply shut down Miguel Cabrera and his bad back for the remainder of the season.

Cabrera is not a member of that group, and neither is his manager, Brad Ausmus.

Cabrera, pulled after four innings Saturday due to lower back stiffness, did not play Sunday as Detroit salvaged a split with the visiting Chicago White Sox by winning 12-0.

It would go against his history this season for him not to be in the lineup Monday, at least as the designated hitter for the series opener against the Oakland A's at Comerica Park.

"Baseball players are paid to play baseball," a peeved Ausmus said Sunday. "If they're physically able to play, they play.

"He doesn't want to sit down, clearly. He wants to play. He's always tried to play through even bad injuries. The back has flared up more frequently.

"But this is going to be an issue the rest of his career. Maybe we should sit him for the next seven years just so his back doesn't hurt."

If Cabrera plays, he would face A's right-hander Jharel Cotton (8-10, 5.81 ERA). Right-hander Buck Farmer (4-3, 6.62 ERA) gets the ball for the Tigers.

Farmer will be starting against Oakland for the first time in his career, although he did work 1 1/3 innings of hitless relief against them on May 28, 2016, at Oakland.

Cotton, in his second season with Oakland, has never faced Detroit.

One thing he will have going for him is a power surge by A's hitters.

Oakland has hit 48 home runs in its past 24 games, and its total of 217 is fourth in the league. The Athletics went deep three times Sunday en route to a 6-3 win over the Phillies at Philadelphia.

"A lot of times when we win, we're hitting homers," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "That's kind of our strength."

Detroit's power has been curtailed by the loss of Justin Upton and J.D. Martinez in trades plus down years from Cabrera and Victor Martinez, whose season is over after undergoing a heart ablation procedure.

Overall, Ausmus is irked at the notion Detroit should have shunned its regulars and gone almost entirely with inexperienced youngsters once the club started shedding salary to get young prospects back in return.

"What is with people thinking you should just sit people at the end of the year if you're out of it?" he asked. "These guys are paid to do a job.

"Keep in mind three out of the next four series we play are against teams trying to make the playoffs. So you can't just roll over -- because you want a draft pick. Those people are idiots.

"How's it going to help (Cabrera)? He's about to get four months off. He needs four months and two weeks off?

"This is what we're talking about. He probably plays less (next year) to try to avoid the issue. But it's going to flare up.

"I went through this the last 10 years of my career. It's called chronic for a reason."

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