Frustration Setting in for Red Sox as Kevin Youkilis Becomes Latest to Visit DL

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The news that Kevin Youkilis landed on the disabled list with a torn adductor muscle in his right thumb seems to transcend the many other injuries the Red Sox have endured this year.

"This hurts," Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said.

When you lose your team leader in runs, walks, triples and OPS, and one of your finest defensive players, it has to hurt. The club now has to hope that the news does not get any worse.

Youkilis will seek at least one more opinion from a hand specialist to determine the severity of the injury. If surgery is required, it would all but guarantee that his season would end.

"There's a chance in two weeks that hopefully it scars up a little bit and he feels good enough to play and be productive," manager Terry Francona said. "We'll get to that, we don't know."

That's what makes this injury, one Epstein called "very unusual" and Francona called "rare", a bit different from all the others. There was a relative degree of confidence that Dustin Pedroia and Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz and Victor Martinez and others would eventually heal from their injuries.

Pedroia figures to return soon, and Jacoby Ellsbury may be activated before the current homestand ends. With Youkilis, the Sox are entering the great unknown. Not only do they not yet know the severity of his thumb injury, they cannot begin to imagine two months without their gritty first baseman.

For the first time in a season which has seen the club overcome a host of bumps and bruises, there was a tinge of frustration.

"Especially with Jacoby coming back the next day or two, most likely, it feels we can't get our full team on the field," Epstein said. "But that's nothing new for this team this year and we have to continue to find a way to battle through it.

"We have been looking to getting our full complement of players back and get real hot and get back to where we want to be. It's too early to say that we're gonna be without Youk as we try to do that but if we are without Youk we'll just have to find a way."

To do so, Mike Lowell will be a big factor. He is the immediate replacement for Youkilis at first base, looking to build on a successful rehab stint at Pawtucket last month and hoping to put behind him some recent frustration with waiting for the club to either activate him, trade him or put him on waivers.

But Lowell is not an everyday player. Victor Martinez will be called upon to play some first base and Jed Lowrie, who played at first for the first time in his career Monday night, is a third option. David Ortiz may even get into the mix.

While lamenting what Youkilis means, the club is hopeful it has enough options to weather the storm, whether it lasts two weeks or two months.

"We have some versatility," Francona said.

That versatility has helped Boston survive so far. Without Youkilis, it enters uncharted territory.

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