Cabrera left the Tigers’ 6-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins in the bottom of the third inning Tuesday night with what the team initially said was a left biceps tendon strain. An MRI determined it was ruptured.
Cabrera will have season-ending surgery.
“He feels bad, he feels really bad,” Gardenhire said. “He feels like he’s letting people down.”
Cabrera suffered the injury when he swung awkwardly at Jake Odorizzi‘s slider, and he immediately walked toward the Tigers’ dugout with his left arm hanging at his side. Niko Goodrum replaced him at the plate and struck out.
Cabrera came off the disabled list earlier this month after being shelved for close to a month with a right hamstring strain. His return was slowed by back stiffness.
The 35-year-old was coming off the worst season of his career, hitting .249 with 16 homers as the Tigers went 64-98 in 2017.
But Cabrera was hitting .301 this season with three homers and 22 RBIs. He appeared in 38 games in 2018; the last time Cabrera played fewer than 100 games in a season was his rookie campaign in 2003, when he debuted in June.
Between 2003, when he entered the majors, and 2016, Cabrera was placed on the disabled list once. Tuesday’s injury will send him to the disabled list for the second time this season, and the fourth time in his career.
Cabrera’s 2018 salary is $30 million, and he is due at least $162 million guaranteed on his contract after this season.
The slugger is chasing 500 career home runs and 3,000 career hits, an exclusive MLB club comprised of Hank Aaron, Albert Pujols, Willie Mays, Alex Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro and Eddie Murray.
Cabrera also ranks in the top three among all active players in hits, home runs and RBIs: his 2,676 hits are third-most; his 465 home runs are second-most; and his 1,635 RBIs are third-most.