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Avila: Cabrera’s knee “going to get worse” as years go on

Oct 2, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) celebrates after a single against the Atlanta Braves in the ninth inning at Turner Field. The Braves defeated the Tigers 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The drop-off in Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera’s production is well-documented, but it’s the cruel reality as Father Time catches up to you.

Of course, Cabrera is also suffering from chronic damage in his knee that’s affected his game, and caused him to miss long stretches of time. According to GM Al Avila, it won’t require surgery, but it will be affecting Cabrera for the rest of his career.

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“The bad news is that it’s going to get worse as it goes along,” Avila said. “It’s incumbent on him to stay in good shape and it’s incumbent on us to make sure we get him the proper treatment and proper rest.”

The team won’t place Cabrera at first base, unless it’s an emergency. Several other players have played first base at least once this season, including Niko Goodrum, John Hicks, Brandon Dixon, Ronny Rodriguez, Gordon Beckham and Dustin Peterson.

“Obviously with any veteran player, you’re going to be concerned about injuries. You can’t let that paralyze you. You’ve got to move forward,” Avila said. “Our trainers and doctors work on him every single day to keep him on the field.

“If you’re able to keep that going, we should be able to keep him productive on the field through the remainder of his contract. That is our expectation, that is our hope.”

Cabrera has four years and $124 million remaining on his contract.

“Every position player in that infield and even some of the outfielders can play first base,” Avila continued. “One of the things that we tried to do coming into this year is get guys who are versatile, who can play first, second, short, third, outfield — and most of our players can do that. We have plenty of options for first base as far as that’s concerned. So right now, Miggy DH’ing is probably the best thing for everybody.”

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