Miguel Cabrera's Injury Could Open the Door for Two Tigers

Joe UnderhillCorrespondent IIIMarch 20, 2012

Photo curtesy of ESPN.
Photo curtesy of ESPN.

As a Tiger fan watching Monday's Tigers—Phillies game, I nearly had a heart attack.

A wicked ground ball off the bat of Hunter Pence took a horrific last second bounce and slammed into Miguel Cabrera's face. Cabrera staggered and seemed a little dazed although he stayed on his feet with blood pouring from a cut beneath his right eye.

ESPN reported this morning that Cabrera has a "suffered a small fracture in the bone under his right eye." The good news is the injury hasn't affected his vision, but he is expected to miss a couple of weeks as the injury heals.

What does this mean for the Tigers?

In the long term not much, Cabrera should heal just fine and be back soon after the season starts. In the short term it means two Tigers hopefuls are likely to be on the 25-man roster at the beginning of the season.

Lighting rod Brandon Inge and upstart Danny Worth have been fighting it out to make the Tigers roster this spring.

Inge can play lights-out defense at third base and has made a seamless defensive transition to second base. Worth is a jack-of-all-trades, who has shown the ability to play above average defense at second, short, and third.

Ryan Raburn has locked down a spot in Leyland's lineup with his fantastic spring. Inge had been fighting with Raburn, Worth and Ramon Santiago for time at second base.

With the injury to Cabrera, playing time has opened up for someone at third base, but I don't think it will be Inge. Dave Dombroski said he thinks the Cabrera will be healthy enough to play opening day.

If Cabrera needs a few regular season games off I think Worth makes the team and plays third, Inge makes the team and plays second while Raburn DH's.

After Cabrera returns it will be a matter of who is hitting the ball better between Danny Worth and Brandon Inge.