DETROIT -- The Tigers have gotten an impressive start at the plate from third-year leadoff man Austin Jackson, but they now have to wonder if their offense can get going without him. Jackson left Wednesday's 11-7 loss to the Twins after four innings with a mild abdominal strain and is day to day.
Jackson confirmed he that suffered the injury on his swing as he flew out to center field to end the fourth inning.
"It was on the swing," he said. "I think it was something that I was out front [on the swing] and probably was in a position where I stretched it out a little bit, the abdominal."
Jackson struggled to run to first base and began to walk out toward the outfield as head athletic trainer Kevin Rand came out from the dugout to attend to him.
Rand accompanied Jackson back into the dugout and down the stairs to the clubhouse. Don Kelly took over in center field to begin the fifth inning.
Jackson didn't rule out playing Thursday afternoon, but didn't sound optimistic.
"Hopefully it won't be anything where I have to go on the disabled list," Jackson said. "I think we'll see how it feels tomorrow and just go day by day, just doing the necessary treatment. ... It's going to be something where I have to get here early and do some treatment on it and see how it feels after that."
Any loss of Jackson is a huge concern for the Tigers. While Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder are the star hitters in the lineup, Jackson has been the catalyst from the leadoff spot so far this year. The 25-year-old entered Wednesday ranked sixth in the American League with a .323 batting average and .409 on-base percentage, numbers he built on with singles in each of his first two at-bats Wednesday night.
Jackson also ranked fourth among AL hitters with 27 runs scored and ninth with 20 walks.
Jackson's three-run homer Tuesday in Chicago completed an eight-run sixth-inning comeback against the White Sox, sending the Tigers on their way to a 10-8 win.
"It's unfortunate," Jackson said, "but things like that happen all the time. You just have to do what you have to do to get back out there."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.