DETROIT — Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera will be sidelined with a left calf injury for at least six weeks after the Tigers placed the AL batting leader on the disabled list for the first time in his career.
The two-time AL MVP pulled up while breaking for second on an attempted hit-and-run in the fourth inning of Friday's 8-6 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. An MRI showed a strain of his calf muscle but no injury to his Achilles tendon.
Cabrera is hitting .350 with 15 homers and 54 RBIs.
"It is a grade-3 calf strain, and it's probably going to be six weeks," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said before Saturday's game against Toronto. "When you lose the best hitter on the planet, it's a huge blow."
Grade 3 is the most severe of the strains.
In the last two seasons, Cabrera played through a sports hernia, a broken bone in his foot and bone spurs in his ankles.
"It's going to be tough without him, for sure," catcher Alex Avila said. "There's no secret about that. We just need to keep it as close as possible to be able to make a run when he gets back."
Detroit selected the contract of third baseman Jofry Marte from Triple-A Toledo. Marte, who has played 10 minor league games at first, was hitting .271 for the Mud Hens and has not played in the major leagues,.
With Victor Martinez unable to play the field because of knee problems, the Tigers don't have an obvious replacement for Cabrera. Ausmus plans to rotate the spot while team president Dave Dombrowski seeks a longer-term solution.
"Dave always looks at the options, so I'm sure he's scouring names," Ausmus said.
For Saturday's game against Toronto, Ausmus put Avila in the lineup at first base — his first career start at the position, although he has played it three times as a mid-game replacement.
A nine-time All-Star, Cabrera will miss this year's game at Cincinnati on July 14. He led AL first baseman in the latest fan balloting update with nearly 11.6 million votes. Kansas City's Eric Hosmer was second at 9.15 million.
Final totals are to be announced Sunday.
Miami outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who leads the major leagues with 27 homers, also will miss the game after breaking his left hand on June 26. Stanton is second to Bryce Harper in NL outfielder voting.
St. Louis outfielder Matt Holliday, who is third, has been sidelined since straining a quadriceps on June 8 and is uncertain when he will return.