“The calf tightened up on me pretty good so hopefully come in tomorrow feeling pretty good,” said Gonzalez, who left the game after hitting a home run in the sixth inning of a 5-4 loss to the Blue Jays.
Gonzalez felt the tightness innings earlier and tried to play through it, but he felt it stiffen up even more as he went into his home run trot. The staff wasted no time getting him replaced, a wise move considering the current physical state of the heart of the order.
The man who pulled him believes it will just be a short-term issue, perhaps less than 24 hours.
“We’ll see,” said Terry Francona. “I hope he plays tomorrow but I don’t think this is anything that’s going to linger.
In addition to Gonzalez’s calf ailment, the Red Sox have played two straight games without designated hitter David Ortiz, sidelined with back spasms. Kevin Youkilis played both games of the Toronto series, but is gutting his way through hip pain and a hernia. He’s just 6-for-33 (.182) since coming off the disabled list earlier this month.
That leaves the core of the best offense in baseball beset with injuries and question marks as the biggest series of the season begins.
Tampa Bay strolls into town Thursday for the first of four games with the Sox. After Boston’s loss to the Blue Jays, the margin separating the two was just three games in the loss column (the Rays were playing in Baltimore later Wednesday).
Essentially, it’s gut-check time.
“We’ve just got to find a way this next series to go out there and play good baseball,” Gonzalez said. “We did that yesterday. We did that today, played good baseball. We just came out the back end of it today so playing this [Tampa Bay] series, winning three out of four or sweeping them, that’s what we need to do.”