DETROIT -- When Miguel Cabrera dove down the line to rob Wilson Ramos of an extra-base hit in the fifth inning Tuesday, he looked like the healthy, deceptively mobile third baseman he was before his abdominal strain started bothering him a month ago.

A few pitches later, when he charged in from third on Chad Tracy's slow roller, the injury that sidelined him for four games last week had flared up again.

"Same thing," Cabrera said after Tuesday's Tigers win over the Nationals.

Cabrera left the game in the eighth inning, replaced at third base by Ramon Santiago.

Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand characterized the injury as a day-to-day situation. How Cabrera handles it going forward is basically a matter of what kind of plays he has to make, and how much pain he feels when he aggravates it.

"He knows that there are going to be certain plays that stress that area more than other plays," Rand said. "Obviously, you see him swinging the bat. He swings the bat very well. The two plays to his right, no problem on those. But when he came in on that other play, he felt it at that point.

"It's the type of thing that's something he's going to feel, and as long as he's able to work through that, he's OK. If he can't, he'll take a breather."