KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera was so clearly frustrated when he hobbled off the field with a strained hamstring that manager Ron Gardenhire let him cool off a while before finally talking to him.
Gardenhire was a bit worried about how Cabrera would react to the possibility of the disabled list.
"He understood," Gardenhire said. "I think he knows he's not going to be ready in the next three or four days. He gets it. We're all hoping it's quick."
So, with Cabrera's blessing, the Tigers placed the two-time AL MVP on the DL before Friday night's game against the Kansas City Royals. They recalled catcher Grayson Greiner from Triple-A Toledo to fill a roster spot, but intend to use Victor Martinez at DH and John Hicks at first base while Cabrera is out.
"He was frustrated. Still is," Gardenhire said. "It's baseball. You're playing every day. He was healthy all through spring training. Now the weather has changed, we're done with all this cold crap — yesterday was probably one of the nicest days we've had to play and he still got hurt."
Cabrera had just returned from missing three games with biceps spasms when he was in the lineup for Thursday's series opener. He singled in the sixth inning and felt a slight pain at first base, then had a sharper pain when he tried advancing to second on a single by Nick Castellanos.
Cabrera began walking to the dugout before Gardenhire had even reached him on the field.
Asked how long Cabrera would be out, the skipper replied: "Only time will tell. Let him get his treatment. He'll do that every day. And only time will tell. It's a hamstring. Just depends how bad it is."
Cabrera worked all offseason to get his troublesome back under control, only to be besieged by more mundane injuries this season. Along with the hamstring and biceps, the 35-year-old Cabrera missed a game with a left hip flexor strain last month.
Still, the 11-time All-Star was off to another scorching start. Cabrera was hitting .323 with three homers, nine double sand 21 RBIs through his first 26 games.
"Just have to fill a hole here," Gardenhire said. "It's a big hole."
Greiner, a third-round pick in the 2014 draft, was in the starting lineup for the Mud Hens for their game in Durham when he was scratched Thursday night. He'd been playing well and wasn't sure why he had been benched, then word began to trickle through the dugout that Cabrera had been hurt.
"Then my heart started pounding," he said, "and they made me wait out a three-hour game to tell me."
Greiner's parents were at the game, along with his wife and 2-month-old son. All of them boarded a plane Thursday to make the trip to Kansas City, where they hope to see him make his big league debut.
Greiner was hitting .259 with a homer and seven RBIs with Toledo.
The Tigers also purchased the contract of Blaine Hardy from the Mud Hens after optioning fellow left-hander Chad Bell on Thursday night. Hardy was designated for assignment in spring training but has been solid for the Mud Hens, allowing two runs and 11 hits over 24 1/3 innings.
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