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08/11/08 11:58 PM ET

MRI negative, Thames to return soon

Tigers outfielder has no structural damage in sore shoulder

DETROIT -- Tigers outfielder Marcus Thames is expected to be back in two to three days after an MRI exam showed no structural damage in his sore right shoulder.

Thames took a cortisone shot on Monday afternoon to quiet the inflammation in his shoulder. He could be available to pinch-hit as early as Tuesday, a major relief for a team that has taken advantage of his power.

Thames initially injured his shoulder on a sliding catch to rob White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski of a hit on Thursday night in Chicago. The pain worsened to the point where he was scratched from Sunday's starting lineup and listed as day-to-day. Instead of feeling better on Monday, he was having trouble raising his arm, and the Tigers were thinking about the disabled list as a possibility.

"If they hit a ball out there to me, I couldn't throw anybody out," Thames said. "And I don't want to be out there in the field [hobbled] when we need to win every game we can. I don't like sitting. Whenever I get a chance to play, I want to play, but I had to sit down. It was killing me."

Thames' 21 home runs rank second on the team to Miguel Cabrera, but Thames has produced his homers in just 237 at-bats. The 31-year-old is batting .236 with a .544 slugging percentage and 46 RBIs.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.