CHICAGO -- Indians manager Manny Acta could not help but laugh a little when asked if shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera has been his team's most valuable player this season.
"Without a doubt," Acta said with a chuckle prior to Thursday's game against the White Sox. "Is there a runner-up?"
As strong as Cabrera's season has been for Cleveland, though, the All-Star shortstop has not been immune to slumps. Entering this series in Chicago, Cabrera was mired in a slump that stretches to early August, or as far back as mid-June, depending on how the numbers are divided.
Over Cabrera's previous 32 games, dating back to Aug. 2, he hit at a .206 (26-for-126) clip with three home runs and 17 RBIs, posting a .287 on-base percentage and a .317 slugging percentage along the way. Since June 19, Cabrera hit .243 with a .320 OBP and a .403 SLG over 68 games.
Prior to that last stretch, Cabrera hit .301/.345/.510 in his first 69 games of the year.
"It's probably wear and tear," Acta said. "He's played more games than he has played over the last two or three years, especially last year when he missed so much time with that broken forearm."
Indeed, Cabrera missed roughly two months in 2010 with a fractured left forearm and only appeared in 97 games for the Tribe. His 137 games this season are a career best, as are the 22 home runs and 82 RBIs. Overall, Cabrera has hit .273 for the Indians, though Acta cites the power production to account for the drop-off in average.
"I wouldn't look at the batting average so much," Acta said, "because he flat-out has traded some points on that batting average for overall production and power and runs batted in. We'll take that any time. I'd rather see him do what he's done this year than hit 20 points higher with not as much production."
Without getting into specifics, Acta added that Cabrera has played through some minor injuries throughout this season, too.
"He's fine right now," Acta said. "He went through a lot of periods where nobody knew what he was going through and he was still performing at a high level. That's why he deserves so much credit. He's played through a lot of pain for a lot of games."