Miguel Cabrera has played all 57 games for the Detroit Tigers this season.
With Sunday's 1:05 p.m. matchup with the Kansas City Royals at Kauffmann Stadium serving as their last guaranteed game, interim manager Lloyd McClendon decided to allow his two-time MVP a "well-deserved" break.
Barring an unscheduled doubleheader Monday getting put back on the calendar, Cabrera will finish with a .250 batting average, 10 home runs and 35 RBIs.
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"This guy's toed the rubber every day and has never asked for anything," McClendon said. "Talked last night. He said, 'It'd be nice if I can get tomorrow off, and if we play Monday, I'll be ready to go.' No (injury). Just a day off."
In Cabrera's final six games of the year, he went 10-for-27 (.370) with four homers and 12 RBIs. He is replaced at designated hitter by Christin Stewart.
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The Tigers will also be without Harold Castro, who left Saturday's game with a lower back injury. While he is available, McClendon isn't going to use him unless there's an "emergency" situation. He played 22 games this year, hitting .347 with four doubles and three RBIs.
Monday baseball? That depends
That game holds significance for what they do next.
They won't play Monday's doubleheader at Comerica Park if the Cardinals win - clinching one of eight National League playoff spots. But if the Brewers and San Francisco Giants (playing at 3:05 p.m. against the San Diego Padres) win, the Cardinals will need to play the unscheduled doubleheader.
"We'll operate as normal," McClendon said. "And once we touch down, I guess we'll know. In fact, we will probably know on the plane on the way back."
If the Tigers indeed take the field Monday, rookie right-hander Casey Mize will start the first game. Right-hander Michael Fulmer would typically be in line to start Game 2, but McClendon said that opening is to be determined.
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Sergio Alcantara returns
Shortstop Willi Castro went to the 10-day injured list after leaving Saturday's game with right shoulder soreness, officially ending his season, so the Tigers brought rookie infielder Sergio Alcantara back to the active roster.
He was with the team as a member of the traveling taxi squad, meaning he was available in case of an injury for the road series. Alcantara made Sunday's starting lineup, batting in the No. 9 spot and playing second base.
Through nine games, the 24-year-old is 2-for-19 with one triple, one home run and one RBI.
Castro ends his breakthrough campaign with a .349 batting average, six homers and 24 RBIs in 36 games. Last season, he hit .230 in 30 appearances.
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Evan Petzold is a sports reporting intern at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here's how you can gain access to our most exclusive Detroit Tigers content.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers-Cardinals Monday doubleheader still in play. Here's how