Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez could play next week

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I attended the Detroit Tigers Spring Training game in Lakeland on Saturday.

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While the sun was shining, the weather was warm and the Olde English D was displayed on the field, something felt off. There were not too many familiar faces on the field, largely due to the team playing split squad games and a number of players (Ian Kinsler and Yoenis Cespedes) nursing minor ailments that kept them out for a day or two.

Fans missed seeing the big sluggers in the lineup, but with any luck we could be seeing both Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez in the Detroit Tigers’ lineup very soon.

While nothing is certain, Brad Ausmus said each player is progressing well enough to possibly play in a Grapefruit League game next week.

Ausmus spoke to reporters on Saturday afternoon, according to NBC Sports.

"“I don’t know if they’ll play next week,” Ausmus said. “I guess it’s a possibility. Right now, they’re still doing the same things [as] the last few days in terms of agilities, running, BP. They did run the bases a little bit today.”"

Last month, each player’s time-table put them out until roughly Opening Day, so the fact that they may come back within seven days is a very good sign that they could be playing on April 6 at Comerica Park against the Minnesota Twins.

Including today’s game, there are 21 games left in Spring Training (also taking into account the one remaining split squad date next Sunday and an April 4 tune up/exhibition game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field before heading to Detroit).

I would expect the Tigers to bring each player along slowly, perhaps rotating each as DH/1B for a couple of games, giving them one at-bat each while working their way up to two at-bats, three, etc., much like the other Tigers’ progressed at the start of camp.

V-Mart and Miggy will probably receive alternating off-days after playing in the early going (much like the team has done with Jose Iglesias). Worst case they appear in games next Sunday, on March 22, they still have two full weeks (minus a Monday, March 23 scheduled open date for the whole team) to get ready for Opening Day.

So while there is no certain return date, things are looking good for an Opening Day-type lineup on Opening Day.

Next: Tigers' risks breaking their way

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