Baseball / Sports

Miguel Cabrera's power shortage may be related to ankle woes

MINNEAPOLIS -- Miguel Cabrera is dealing with an ankle problem that kept him out of the Tigers' lineup Sunday.

Cabrera hasn't hit a homer in the last three weeks and has hit only three since June.

These facts could be related.

Cabrera aggravated his right ankle when his foot landed on first base as he unsuccessfully tried to beat out a double-play grounder Saturday night. After he singled in a run in the eighth inning, manager Brad Ausmus sent in a pinch-runner for him.

Ausmus said he didn't know when Cabrera's ankle problem first arose. That's understandable; Cabrera showed for the final few months of last season, when he played even though he basically couldn't run, that he can put up with a lot that he doesn't complain about.

Ausmus was asked if he believes Cabrera's power drought could be related to his ankle problem.

"I can't answer that," he said. "I guess it's possible ...if he can't keep his weight back."

There's a key element in power hitting--keeping the weight back.

In the first half of the season, Cabrera hit a lot of long drives that came down just short of the fence. The thought was that he was still recovering from his off-season core surgery, and that in the second half he'd be strong enough that those long drives would start going over the fence.

Instead, the opposite has happened. He's not hitting as many long drives to the outfield as in the first half. In his 37 games since the midpoint of the season arrived in early July, Cabrera has three homers.

With the Tigers off Monday, Cabrera will get two straight days off, and Ausmus hopes the respite will help his ankle improve.

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