In the ninth inning Tuesday night, Boston Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis tested his cranky back by swinging a bat in the dugout.
Turns out, Youkilis never was going to hit.
"He wasn't available," manager Bobby Valentine said after the Red Sox's 5-3 loss to the A's. "I was just using everything I had. It was a decoy. It didn't work real well, I guess."
Youkilis has missed the past three games with a stiff lower back. It's unclear how much longer he will be sidelined, but the Red Sox recalled shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias from Class AAA Pawtucket to give them an extra infielder Tuesday night. To open a roster spot, they optioned reliever Junichi Tazawa to Pawtucket, leaving them with 11 pitchers, a condition that isn't ideal.
According to Valentine, Youkilis' back has flared at different times over the past few days. He was scratched from the lineup Sunday in Chicago because his back tightened when he took batting practice. On Monday, Youkilis' back acted up during infield practice.
Several hours before Tuesday night's game, Valentine walked into the training room and saw Youkilis receiving treatment.
"There are times where it's pretty sore," Valentine said. "Different movements. He's doing everything he can in the training room. I'm not sure where we are on it. It seems like he has a situation that we just have to get over."
Valentine didn't rule out a trip to the disabled list for Youkilis, who wasn't available for comment.
"I can't tell," Valentine said.