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04/03/08 5:46 PM ET

Sheffield injures finger in loss to Royals

Designated hitter not yet sure if time will be missed

DETROIT -- Tigers designated hitter Gary Sheffield injured a finger on his left hand sliding into second base during Thursday afternoon's 4-1 loss to the Royals at Comerica Park.

Sheffield wore a splint on his left ring finger in the Tigers clubhouse after the game. He said the Tigers training staff splinted the finger to minimize swelling and keep it straight.

"Without it, I can't keep it straight. It just keeps popping back up," Sheffield said.

Sheffield said he has not ruled out playing in Friday's series opener against the Chicago White Sox. The decision, he says, will depend on how much the finger swells overnight. It will be a game-time decision.

Sheffield became the second prominent Tigers hitter to suffer a finger injury so far this season. Leadoff hitter Curtis Granderson is on the 15-day disabled list with a broken bone at the base of a finger on his right hand. He hopes to return in the next few weeks.

The injury occurred on a bang-bang play at second base in the eighth inning. Sheffield blooped a single in front of Royals left fielder Mark Teahen and broke for second. Tehan fired a strike to second base to retire Sheffield for the first out of the inning. Sheffield wasn't sure, but he believes his finger jammed into the base as he slid.

He said he had no feeling in the finger as he trotted off the field, and noticed the injury when he returned to the dugout.

"I looked at it, and it was deformed," Sheffield said. "I grabbed a bat, but I just had to hold [the finger] off the bat, and tried to take a few swings. But we'll see [Friday]."

Sheffield went 1-for-3 with a walk in the game to raise his average to .143. Despite his low average, he has been productive, walking five times in the first three games of the season. He remains 20 home runs shy of 500 for his career.

Scott McNeish is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.