Tigers' Cespedes sits due to balky back

LAKELAND, Fla. -- On Tuesday, Yoenis Cespedes whomped a grand slam in the second spring training plate appearance of his Detroit Tigers career.

On Wednesday, he took batting practice while his team was on the road and, by all accounts, put on a show.

But on Thursday, the Tigers' newest masher had his name erased from the No. 3 hole on the Detroit lineup card, with tightness in his back. It isn't viewed as serious, and he wasn't scheduled to play again until Saturday. But his manager, Brad Ausmus, labeled him as day-to-day. So stay tuned.

Cespedes, who was traded by the Boston Red Sox to the Tigers this winter for pitcher Rick Porcello, told the medical staff he was "a little tight" when he woke up Thursday morning, Ausmus said. He then tested his back in one of the indoor batting cages "and decided he didn't feel good enough to continue," the manager said.

Asked if it was likely that Cespedes would play Saturday, when the Tigers play a road game against the Braves, Ausmus said: "I don't know if it's likely. But it's possible."

Miggy progressing

The medical news continues to be much more upbeat for Miguel Cabrera. For the second straight day, Cabrera took batting practice on the field at Joker Marchant Stadium and pounded baseballs onto the left-field berm and other distant locales.

He is also nearing clearance to begin running on the field. Cabrera has been running on a gravity-defying AlterG treadmill which allows him to do aerobic conditioning work without placing his full weight on his surgically repaired right ankle.

Ausmus reported Thursday that Cabrera is now being allowed to run on the treadmill at 72 percent of full weight-bearing. When he reaches 80 percent, he'll be permitted to begin running on flat ground.

Asked if the Tigers need to watch Cabrera to make sure he doesn't overdo it, Ausmus replied: "My feeling is, Miggy is on track, barring a setback. I can't put a date on when he'll return to the lineup, either in spring training or the regular season. But I'm confident that he'll be around for the bulk of the regular season."

Ausmus said he still expects Cabrera to be ready "somewhere in the neighborhood" of Opening Day, but "we will not rush him, just because of Opening Day."