Tigers’ Cabrera sidelined with hip injury

CHICAGO — American League MVP and Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera was unavailable for the Detroit Tigers against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night because of an injured left hip.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland said his star wouldn’t play, but revealed little else. He wouldn’t say how concerned the team is about Cabrera’s injury or if putting him on the disabled list is a possibility.

“He’s not playing tonight — for the third time. He’s not playing tonight,” Leyland said.

Cabrera left Monday’s 7-3 win over Chicago in the fifth inning. He was replaced at third base by Don Kelly with one out in the bottom half of the inning — after scoring in the top half — and walked off holding his left side.

The Tigers said then that he had a sore hip flexor muscle and would be evaluated on Tuesday.

Kelly was at third base and batting seventh on Tuesday night. Left fielder Matt Tuiasosopo had the No. 3 spot in the lineup.

Cabrera, who became baseball’s first Triple Crown winner in 45 years last season, had played in 97 of Detroit’s 98 games this year. He was leading the majors with a .358 batting average and was second in RBIs with 96.

In other injury-related news, Leyland said second baseman Omar Infante, on the disabled list with a sprained left ankle, could soon begin a rehab assignment. Assuming no setbacks from Tuesday’s workout, Leyland said Infante would leave for Class A West Michigan on Wednesday and could rejoin the Tigers this weekend.

“That’s the scenario we’re hoping for,” Leyland said.

He also said left-hander Darin Downs, out with tendinitis in his pitching shoulder, is “probably close to going out and pitching. But I can’t tell you when.”

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