CINCINNATI -- The last time Jerry Hairston Jr. was on the field, on Sunday, he didn't run or walk off to his All-Star break. First he was helped off, then he was carried into the dugout with a strained right hamstring. It turns out that the injury isn't as bad as it looked -- Hairston was diagnosed with a mild strain during the break. But the news still wasn't good enough by Thursday, because the infielder/outfielder was placed on the 15-day disabled list after the leg hadn't responded well. Jolbert Cabrera was activated from the DL to replace Hairston on the roster.
"I tried it out running today, and it just didn't feel right," Hairston said. "We all kind of got together, and if I really extend myself and blow it out, I'm out a month. It's better to take it easy, especially on a hamstring. We just have to get it right." This will be a blow to the Reds lineup as it comes out for the second half. Hairston is batting .351 with two home runs and 22 RBIs. In the games in which he led off, Cincinnati was 20-10. When he missed 14 games with a fractured thumb last month, the team went 5-9. Hairston had primarily played shortstop or center field since returning from his thumb injury. In his last 16 games, he was batting .365 (23-for-63). "You hate to lose time, because time is getting away from us," manager Dusty Baker said. "We're down to, like, 10 weeks in the regular season." If there's any positive to take from Hairston's going on the DL, it's that the stint is retroactive to Monday because of the All-Star break. That means the 32-year-old is eligible to return on July 29, when the Reds are at Houston. "I want to be out there playing, especially now that we've started to play well," Hairston said. "It's tough for me to watch, because I love to play. Hopefully, these next 10 days or so go by fast." One of four Reds shortstops to go down at various points this season, Cabrera was filling in there for Hairston when he suffered a compound dislocation of his left index finger on June 20, against the Yankees. Before going down, he was batting .389 (7-for-18) in seven games. Cabrera, who was 8-for-22 (.364) during a six-game rehab assignment at Class A Dayton, considers himself 90 percent back from the grisly injury, which required 17 stitches. "It's going to be a little swollen," said Cabrera, who can play multiple infield and outfield positions. "It's going to be like that for a little bit. There's nothing you can do about it. I didn't lose that much time. I was hitting two weeks after I had surgery. It's not like it was a painful two or three months." In other injury news, reliever Jared Burton will not need to go on the DL because of a strained lat muscle in his right side. Burton, who was rested the last three games at Milwaukee, was expected to be held back for another game. Right-hander Aaron Harang, who is on the 15-day DL with a strained right forearm, was re-examined by medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek on Thursday. Harang is eligible to return on Wednesday, and it appears he will need all of that time to get ready. "Harang is a little bit off still," Baker said. "He still feels it a little bit. Fortunately for him and us, it's in the muscle and not in the joint. He's a little further on."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.