NEW YORK -- The way the Red Sox have been shuffling players on and off the disabled list, manager Terry Francona might need a cheat sheet just to remember who's available.
The latest move came Friday, when Boston put reliever Hideki Okajima on the DL with a strained right hamstring and recalled Felix Doubront from Triple-A Pawtucket. Okajima joins a lengthy list of banged-up Red Sox that has dulled the club's postseason aspirations.
First baseman Kevin Youkilis had season-ending surgery on a torn muscle in his right thumb at the Cleveland Clinic on Friday. And despite the recent return of outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston is still without second baseman Dustin Pedroia (right foot), outfielder Mike Cameron (abdominal) and veteran catcher Jason Varitek (left foot).
"I think our room for error is a little less now with some guys being hurt. That doesn't mean we can't win," said Francona, whose club was six games back of the Yankees and 5½ behind Tampa Bay in the AL East heading into Friday night's game against New York.
"That doesn't mean we aren't trying," Francona said. "I think we're trying to embrace the challenge rather than whine about it."
Okajima made the trip to New York even though he told Francona that he was having trouble with his hamstring Thursday night. The left-hander was in the clubhouse before Friday's game but planned to return to Boston for treatment.
"It's not been a good year health-wise," Okajima said through a translator. "At this point, I just want to get back in 15 days, but I can't say how long it will take."
It hasn't been a good year on the field, either. Okajima is just 4-3 with a 5.85 ERA and four blown saves, and has allowed at least one run in three of his last four outings.
Doubront will take Okajima's place in the bullpen after spending most of the season as a starter, including his stint earlier this season with Boston. He was recently moved to a relief role anyway with an eye on helping the club down the stretch.
"We wanted to maybe lengthen that acclimation out a bit more, but so much for development," Francona said with a smirk. "Here are the Yankees, kid, go get 'em."
The best news Friday came from Pedroia, who did some running on the field before batting practice and came bopping through the clubhouse with a smile plastered across his face. He's been on the disabled list since June 26 with a broken left foot, and although the team has yet to set a timetable for his return, Francona sounded optimistic about the progress.
"I thought he did great," Francona said. "His intensity was really ramped up. You can still see he's thinking about it, but I thought he made a lot of improvement, which is great."
Pedroia was hitting .292 with 12 homers and 41 RBI in 73 games before getting hurt.
"It's still healing. For him to accept that is very difficult, but I thought he had a good day," Francona said. "For him, a good day is not until he's back in the lineup.'"'
His eventual return would help balance the loss of Youkilis, who was hitting .307 with 19 homers and 62 RBI. He was hurt Monday night after lining out in a game against Cleveland, but remained in the game until the third inning.
Mike Lowell, who came off the DL when Youkilis went on it, has been getting a look at first base after missing 34 games with a strained right hip. The third baseman has been without a regular spot since the signing of Adrian Beltre last offseason, and although he's hitting just .214 with 14 RBI in 33 games, he provides a veteran presence in the clubhouse.
"I think it's just a stamp on this season. It's been a little weird," Lowell said of the injury to the club's regular first baseman. "Without Kevin Youkilis, you're certainly not better. Can I plug the hole? I'm going to do my best."