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06/11/10 1:19 AM ET

Youkilis tweaks back in loss to Tribe

CLEVELAND -- Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis left Thursday night's 8-7 loss in the bottom of the seventh inning because of back spasms. But the injury is not expected to linger, and Youkilis might be able to start Friday night's game against the Phillies.

"It's just back spasms. Mild," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "Just from going in the past, I think he knew if he stayed in the game it would cost him multiple days. I don't think we want to do that."

How did it happen?

"He just made a move out on the field and when he was running to first, he felt it and it was getting tighter and tighter and you just don't want to do something to cost him multiple games," Francona said.

Mike Lowell replaced Youkilis for the final two innings on Thursday, and went 0-for-1.

Papelbon to return to Boston's bullpen Friday

CLEVELAND -- The Red Sox will have the familiar presence of closer Jonathan Papelbon back in their bullpen on Friday night against the Phillies, as the closer will be activated from the bereavement/family medical emergency list.

Papelbon was not with the Red Sox in Cleveland for this four-game series against the Indians, which concluded Thursday night.

Without Papelbon, the Red Sox suffered an 8-7 loss in the finale of this seven-game road trip. Daniel Bard blew the save in the bottom of the ninth.

"I've pitched in a variety of situations this year, so I was definitely ready," said Bard.

The Red Sox, respecting the privacy for Papelbon and his family, did not say what the right-hander is dealing with.

The club will be glad to have their four-time All-Star closer back in the field.

"Believe me, we love having Pap," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

Boston did have Manny Delcarmen (back woes) back in the fold on Thursday. Delcarmen was healthy Wednesday, but he threw a side session before the game and the Red Sox stayed away from him as a precaution.

The setup man did a nice job in his return, wiggling out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam.

Pedroia in a rut, playing though knee injury

CLEVELAND -- Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia came up with a 2-for-5 performance in Thursday night's 8-7 loss to the Indians, perhaps serving as a sign he will soon emerge from one of the most prolonged slumps of his career.

Since injuring his right knee on May 15 at Detroit, Pedroia is 18-for-95 (.189 average).

During the slump, Pedroia's average tumbled from .289 to .251.

"I'll be fine," said Pedroia. "I go through this every year. It just [stinks] going through it. But in the end, I'll be right where I'm supposed to be."

Does the knee bother him?

"A little bit," said Pedroia. "My knee hurts. But I'll be fine. I don't weigh that much, I don't carry around a lot of weight. I'll find a way to play through it."

Pedroia thinks the knee will get better over time.

"I'm getting treatment every day, and it'll get better. I'll heal while I play," said Pedroia.

Does he think days off would help?

"Not really," Pedroia said. "I've had some days off, but I've got to get out there and help us win. That's my job."

Worth noting

After producing one of his best months in years during May, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz has been in a bit of a rut of late. The slugger went 1-for-26 in Boston's seven-game road trip, as his average went from .273 to .237. ... Right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka was able to throw a side session on Thursday, a day after an apparent case of food poisoning had him vomiting in the bullpen. ... Left fielder Jeremy Hermida was out of the lineup, a night after returning from left rib woes. Hermida was involved in a collision with teammate Adrian Beltre on Friday night. He was feeling a little tender Thursday. Bill Hall took his spot in left. ... NESN play-by-play man Don Orsillo stayed on the sidelines for Thursday's game. He was feeling under the weather. Jon Rish of WEEI took over play-by-play duties.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.