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Jim Leyland doesn't rule out lifting Miguel Cabrera from regular-season finale

Miguel Cabrera may get rested early by Tigers manager Jim Leyland.

Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Miguel Cabrera will almost certainly win baseball's first Triple Crown since 1967, but it is not yet 100 percent guaranteed. His biggest competition comes in the form of Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, who can surpass Cabrera in homers if he hits two against the Oakland A's on Wednesday. The good news for Cabrera is that Hamilton and the Rangers play an afternoon game, and Cabrera should know by game time in Detroit if Hamilton has taken the home run lead.

The sum of this is that Tigers manager Jim Leyland said on Tuesday night that he may take Cabrera out early in Detroit's final game if the third baseman has the Triple Crown in hand.

"But I think Miguel Cabrera will play (Wednesday night)," Leyland said. "He will want to play. But that's not to say if he gets two or three at-bats that I might just rest him. I think it's legitimate.

(via Detroit Free Press)

The only other conceivable way in which Cabrera could get caught in one of the three Triple Crown categories is if Mike Trout has a dramatic day at the plate. If Cabrera played on Wednesday and didn't get a single hit, Trout would need to go either 5-5 or 6-6 in order to pass Cabrera in batting average. The Angels will start 90 minutes before the Tigers, so Detroit's brass should have a pretty good idea by first pitch if that scenario is even plausible.