Dirks exits game with left hamstring tightness

Dirks exits game with left hamstring tightness

DETROIT -- Tigers outfielder Andy Dirks left Tuesday's game against the Royals in the fourth inning with left hamstring tightness, the same injury that sidelined him earlier this month.

Dirks had to speed up when left fielder Alex Gordon overran his pop fly, hustling in on a double. He was clearly hobbling after that, prompting head athletic trainer Kevin Rand to jog out from the dugout. Brad Eldred, the 6-foot-6, 270-pound designated hitter the Tigers called up last week, pinch-ran for Dirks -- who started as the designated hitter -- and scored on Jhonny Peralta's single.

Although it appeared the play caused the injury, Dirks said it was something he had been dealing with all day.

"Today it was just tight," he said. "I think maybe the cold weather had something to do with it, too. As the game went on, I was trying to stay loose, [and] it kept getting tighter and tighter. But I didn't re-pull it. It was just sore and tight, and I think they [wanted to be] precautionary."

Dirks initially strained his left hamstring trying to score from second base on a hit at Kansas City a couple weeks ago. He missed about eight days before returning to action last week. Manager Jim Leyland hinted that if Dirks remains sore, a stint on the disabled list is possible.

"He's a concern to me," Leyland said. "They're talking not bad, didn't really re-injure it, but we'll have to just wait and see. But we can't go six, seven, eight days again like we did last time. We'll just have to wait and see and evaluate it tomorrow."

Dirks and Don Kelly had been sharing left-field duties the past few days while Delmon Young has been out. Young is scheduled to return from his suspension on Friday, though manager Jim Leyland said he will not be in the starting lineup that night against the White Sox.