Sheffield, who started Monday night's game as the designated hitter, was injured running out a grounder to shortstop in the third inning. He slowed up halfway down the line, grabbing his side, and was replaced by a pinch-hitter the next time he was due to bat in the sixth.
"I've never had an oblique problem, but I'm quite aware of what kind of injury it is. So I've just got to rest it and not try to do too much. These things can be tricky," Sheffield said after the Tigers' 3-2 loss to the Angels.
"I'm kind of under the weather, anyway, and I think that had something to do with it. When you're under the weather, you're bones start aching. That's probably why I pulled something," Sheffield added. "I've got bad sinuses, so I've been dealing with this for a week now. Every time I cough or sneeze, it hurts my whole left side."
This is the 12th time on the DL for the 20-year veteran and nine-time All-Star, who is hitting just .213 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 39 games. It's his second trip to the DL since the Tigers obtained him from the New York Yankees in November 2006. Last season he was hampered for most of the final 10 weeks of the campaign with a sore right shoulder, an injury that shelved him for two weeks.
"This is something that I definitely don't want to deal with," Sheffield said. "It hurts to ride in a car, it hurts to sit down, it hurts to lay down -- I mean, it just hurts doing anything. So I try to get in a position where I'm most comfortable and stay there, but it's just miserable.
"Last night I just basically sat up and leaned back and went to sleep. I couldn't lie down because it puts a lot of pressure on my side. I've just got to weather the storm until it's over."
Sheffield, who turns 40 years old in November, is 17 home runs shy of 500. He won an NL batting title in 1992 with the San Diego Padres, and a World Series ring with the Florida Marlins in 1997. That club was managed by current Tigers skipper Jim Leyland.
The Tigers recalled first baseman Jeff Larish from Triple-A Toledo to take Sheffield's place on the roster.
Larish, 25, homered three times in one game for Arizona State during the 2005 College World Series -- one to left field, center and right in the leadoff spot. The Tigers picked him in the fifth round of the draft that year.