Cabrera, who has led the American League in walks for two straight seasons, has been a markedly different pitcher since the All-Star break. The right-hander appeared to be showing improvement with a 6-5 record and a 4.33 ERA during the first half, but he then collapsed into one of the worst 10-start stretches of his career with a 2-5 mark and a 7.59 ERA after the break.
Erstwhile southpaw starter Brian Burres is expected to replace Cabrera on Tuesday, and Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said on Friday that he'll be forced to mix and match starters from now until the season concludes.
"I would daresay everybody's going to get an opportunity to show what they can do," Trembley said. "Everybody's available and everybody should fully take advantage of the opportunity that they have. It sure would be nice to get some positive results here."
Trembley said Cabrera would rest for six to eight weeks before the team's physicians reevaluate his condition.
Cabrera complained of pain in late August, and the Orioles ordered an MRI to ascertain the root of the problem. They pronounced him essentially healthy, sending him back out to pitch. And Cabrera, who had wanted to take every rotation turn as it was, remained stoic about the nature of his arm and pitching through pain.
"When you play baseball, you always have some pain," Cabrera said last month. "You can pitch with some pain, and this one isn't a big thing. It's just a little bit of pain. ... I've been having a problem with my back, but it's nothing out of control.
"I wasn't looking for days off," Cabrera added moments later. "They pay me to pitch. When I don't pitch, I'm not going to say I don't get paid, but that's not why I'm here. It's something where I can't help people. Now I've got to deal with that."
Cabrera, who has pitched to an 8-10 record with a 5.25 ERA this year, currently ranks among the league leaders in walks, wild pitches and hit batsmen. The 27-year-old served a six-game suspension for throwing at the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez earlier in the month and complained of rust in his past two outings, right before the Orioles decided to suspend his season.
The Orioles will apparently finish the season with only Burres -- who was removed from the starting staff and optioned to Triple-A Norfolk to work as a reliever at one point -- from the Opening Day rotation. Adam Loewen suffered an injury that prematurely ended his pitching career, Steve Trachsel was released and both Guthrie and Cabrera are on the DL.
Guthrie may be able to return as early as Tuesday, but Trembley won't make a final determination on that until after the right-hander throws a bullpen session on Saturday. Guthrie has been suffering from a fatigued right shoulder, and he's trying to prove he's healthy enough to make one or two more starts before the season ends.
"We can't get to that decision with Guthrie until he throws his sideline tomorrow," said Trembley, explaining his view of the situation. "Until he throws a sideline tomorrow, I don't have anybody penciled in."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less