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11/02/09 2:52 AM EST

Melky strains left hamstring in sixth inning

Injury may keep center fielder sidelined for Game 5 in Philly

PHILADELPHIA -- Melky Cabrera may have to watch from the bench as the Yankees attempt to put the finishing touches on their 27th World Series championship.

The 25-year-old outfielder suffered a slight strain of his left hamstring while running out a sixth-inning groundout in Game 4 of the Fall Classic on Sunday and might not be available as the Yankees look to defeat the Phillies and finalize their first title since 2000.

Cabrera went to center field after the top of the sixth inning and tried to convince Yankees manager Joe Girardi and assistant trainer Steve Donohue that he could stay in the game.

Brett Gardner replaced Cabrera instead and played the final 3 1/2 innings of the Yankees' 7-4 victory, popping out to end the eighth inning. Girardi told the New York Daily News that Cabrera would be evaluated on Monday morning, but said, "I doubt he can play [Monday]."

Cabrera had started all 13 of the Yankees' postseason games this year in center field and was batting .154 (2-for-13) with a run scored and three strikeouts in the World Series.

The Yankees could consider playing either Gardner or Jerry Hairston Jr. in center field for Game 5. Gardner was New York's Opening Day center fielder and batted .270 with three home runs, 23 RBIs and 26 stolen bases in 108 games.

Hairston played two games in center field this year for New York and started Game 2 in place of right fielder Nick Swisher, providing a seventh-inning hit that led to a run.

In the event New York opts to replace Cabrera on its roster, he would not be eligible to return for the remainder of the World Series. The Yankees have infielder Ramiro Pena and outfielder Freddy Guzman traveling with them as inactive players.

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