Kipnis was scratched from the order at the last possible second.
"We had to make the switch, on the run," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "With a pen."
It was an unfortunate turn of events for Kipnis, who was looking forward to taking the field for the first time in his home state as a big leaguer. Now, it appears as though Kipnis is heading to the 15-day disabled list with the hamstring issue, along with a right oblique strain that has bothered him for the past week.
Utility infielder Luis Valbuena -- still technically on Triple-A Columbus' roster -- was already in the visitors' clubhouse in Chicago after the Tribe's 4-2 win over the White Sox on Thursday. Barring a swift recovery by Kipnis, Valbuena will likely be officially recalled from the Minors prior to Friday's game in Detroit.
"I guess destiny had it that he wasn't supposed to play in front of his family and friends," Acta said. "It's sad. It looks like with the combination of that [hamstring], and [the oblique] he's battling through, that he might be a DL candidate."
Prior to Thursday's game, Kipnis was in the starting lineup after resting his sore oblique for the past five days. Acta had planned on easing the second baseman back into the mix over the course of the next week to 10 days, using input from Kipnis and the team's medical staff to manage his playing time.
If Kipnis is placed on the 15-day disabled list, Cleveland will have the ability to make the stint retroactive to Saturday, meaning he would become eligible for activation on Aug. 28. Jason Donald replaced Kipnis at second base on Thursday and would likely continue to fill in for the rookie during his absence.
Kipnis' absence on Thursday -- after resting for the past five days -- served as bad news for the host of his family and friends that had been at U.S. Cellular Field for this series. Kipnis is a native of Northbrook, Ill., and had numerous fans in attendance over the past three days.
The Indians will surely be happy to have Kipnis back at second base and in the second spot of the lineup when he is able. In his first 18 games for Cleveland after being promoted from Columbus, he hit .279 with six home runs, four doubles, 11 RBIs and 14 runs scored.
Kipnis hurt his side during the Tribe's 14-inning game against the Tigers on Aug. 9. One day later, he went 5-for-5 in a 10-3 victory over Detroit while playing through some discomfort.