DETROIT -- For the second time in six days, Miguel Cabrera's ailing left shoulder knocked him out of a game. This time around, both Cabrera and the Tigers sound a little more worried about it.
"I can't get my swing right," Cabrera said after leaving Tuesday's 9-1 win over the White Sox after six innings with a recurrence of bicep tendinitis.
And the Tigers can't get their MVP candidate and cleanup hitter right at the moment.
"I'm concerned about that one," manager Jim Leyland said. "I'm not concerned that it's anything serious, but I'm concerned."
Cabrera left last Thursday's game at Minnesota with the same issue. He missed the series opener at Kansas City the next day before returning to action, but he admitted before the game that the shoulder has been bothering him. It had been a little better, but not really healed.
It was bad again on Tuesday.
"It absolutely felt a lot better the last three games," Cabrera said. "It kind of was bothering me in Minnesota, and today I feel the same."
Cabrera went 0-for-2 on Tuesday. He hit the first pitch he saw for a fly ball to left in the opening inning, took an intentional walk in the third and grounded out to lead off the fifth. That last at-bat was the particular concern, because he swung at a 2-1 fastball, fouled it off, and then swung at the next pitch.
When he has to come back and swing again, he said, it's a problem.
"I swing at one ball, and if I miss it, the next pitch that I swing at is not a consistent swing," Cabrera said. "It's like I don't feel right, you know?"
Cabrera said he first injured the shoulder diving for a ball in the Tigers' last homestand against Kansas City. He said he had the same problem a few years ago with Florida, but at a short time off cleared it up. That created some hope that a game off last week would do the trick, but clearly that hasn't worked.
He's likely to miss at least a game this time, which would be Wednesday's game against White Sox lefty John Danks. He's 4-for-16 with four walks lifetime off Danks.
"I'm not sure about his status for tomorrow. I would say it's doubtful," Leyland said. 'If you come out of the game one night, very rarely do you play the next night. I'm not saying he won't, but right now ... I doubt that's going to happen. Thursday's a day game, so it's going to be one of those where you might have to be satisfied with getting him ready for the weekend."
The Tigers welcome the Orioles for three games starting Friday. That would leave Detroit having to fill its cleanup spot with somebody else for the next two games, somebody who clearly would not have the same danger for pitchers as Cabrera.
Though the Tigers are fading from the postseason picture, Cabrera remains in the conversation for American League MVP honors. His 110 RBIs still lead the Majors, while his .333 average and 33 home runs rank second among AL hitters. The Tigers managed to put up a rally to beat the Royals on Friday night with Cabrera out, but they can't count on doing that consistently.
At the same time, they can't count on Cabrera doing a whole lot if his shoulder prevents him from swinging the way he wants, not to mention the potential they raise for making his shoulder worse.
"He's our best player, might be the best player in the league," Leyland said. "I sure don't want to lose him for the last stretch, but I'm not going to play somebody that hurts. Miguel, he's as tough as they come. He plays every day. He's a real tough kid. He wants to be out there. He loves to play. But I'm not going to do something stupid with him or anybody else. I'll just have to wait and see."
Tigers' Guillen likely done for season
DETROIT -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Monday that there was a strong possibility that Carlos Guillen's season would be over. On Tuesday, the skipper said he's all but certain his second baseman will be done for the year.
"I would say that as of today, it's doubtful whether he will play," Leyland said. "But I can't swear to that. He could miraculously get better. Right now, there's nowhere to send anybody to play. The instructional league isn't starting. By the time he got tuned up, I don't know if he'd be able to make it or not."
Guillen had the deep bone bruise in his left knee examined on Monday by Dr. Stephen Lemos, and will have a followup exam on Thursday in New York with Dr. Russell Warren, who first examined his knee after Yankees' Brett Gardner slid into it nearly three weeks ago, and will decide if Guillen needs another MRI.
The pain and soreness haven't subsided the way the Tigers' training staff had hoped. Guillen has been in a brace to minimize weight bearing and contact between the two bones that is causing the soreness, but because of the depth of the bruise inside the knee, it has been difficult to treat.
The injury was originally expected to keep Guillen sidelined for two to three weeks. However, with less than a month remaining in the season, it seems Guillen is simply going to run out of time.
"At this point right now, I'm basically at a point where, to me, in order for him to be ready to play for us this season, he'd have to be able to do baseball activity by the end of this weekend, and I don't see that happening," head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said. "You are going to need some time to get some running in and hitting to get ready. I just don't see that happening at this point. I'd say by probably the end of the week when he's examined by Dr. Warren, probably his 2010 season will be pretty much concluded."
If so, Guillen will finish his season with a .273 average, six home runs and 34 RBIs in 68 games played, which will be his lowest games played total in any season since 1999.
Rookie Rhymes settling in with Tigers
DETROIT -- Will Rhymes heard all the comparisons to David Eckstein on his way up the Tigers' farm system, and he took them as a compliment for more than just the 5-foot-9 height. Any comparisons to Dustin Pedroia, he figured, were a big compliment.
After taking over at second base for the last few weeks with the Tigers, Rhymes is finally making a name for himself.
"I said I'd be thrilled to have anywhere near a career like [Eckstein]," Rhymes said. "He won a World Series and he won a World Series MVP. Hey, that would be great."
Rhymes isn't going to pretend he came across a hitting revelation in his second stint with the Tigers. But playing close to every day for the past three weeks and finding a home batting second in the order most days has definitely allowed him a comfort level.
"The first time around, it's not like I was really uncomfortable," Rhymes said Tuesday. "I mean, I was fine. I just never felt locked in at the plate. I never felt really good. It's just a little bit more comfort, but it makes a difference, even being a little more comfortable, just feeling a little more settled in my role as far as I'm not definitely getting sent down in a few days and trying the most of a short period of time. So I think in that sense I feel a lot better.
"I feel better, but it's not like a drastic difference."
There's a consistency to his game that's earning him everyday playing time. His first-inning single Tuesday off Freddy Garcia marked his 15th straight game reaching base safely. He entered the night batting .320 (31-for-97) with 16 runs scored, five doubles and 11 RBIs over his past 24 games, raising his average to .310 for the season, about the same as his .305 average at Triple-A Toledo.
Sizemore to serve as final planned callup
DETROIT -- As it turned out, Scott Sizemore was the only Tigers farmhand to get the call to Detroit once the Minor League seasons ended Monday. Detroit will get through the home stretch this season with a 28-man roster.
It's not as if the Tigers had a lot of candidates. Between so many injuries with the Major League club and disabled list stints at the Minor League level, they had just a few options left on the 40-man roster. With lefty reliever Fu-Te Ni having just come back from injury late last week, the realistic options were whittled to left-handed starter Andy Oliver, infielders Audy Ciriaco and Sizemore, and outfielder Jeff Frazier.
Ultimately, the Tigers decided 152 1/3 innings between Toledo, Detroit and Double-A Erie were enough for Oliver in his first full pro season. He's scheduled to go to the Florida instructional league along with fellow Mud Hens starter Charlie Furbush to work on some specific items and throw a few innings before wrapping it up.
Sizemore was officially activated Tuesday. He'll serve as an extra infielder, pinch-runner and right-handed bat off the bench for the final 3 1/2 weeks.
Windy conditions at Comerica Park made outfield play an adventure Tuesday, enough so that the Tigers were preparing for a strong wind blowing out to left field. "During [batting practice] you really have to get out there and take some fly balls to make sure you know what's going on when the ball gets up there," left fielder Don Kelly said. "Sometimes flags that are lower will blow differently than what's really going on." ... Johnny Damon's home run in the first inning Tuesday was his first since July 28. Seven of his eight home runs have come at Comerica Park. ... Miss America Caressa Cameron performed the national anthem prior to Tuesday's game.
Jason Beck is a reporter and Alex DiFilippo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.