NEW YORK – The way the Boston 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.

First baseman Kevin Youkilis had season-ending surgery on a torn muscle in his right thumb Friday. And despite the recent return of outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston is still without second baseman Dustin Pedroia (right foot), outfielder Mike Cameron (abdominal strain) 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. “That doesn’t mean we aren’t trying. 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 he was having trouble with his hamstring Thursday night. Okajima planned to return to Boston for treatment.

“It’s not been a good year health-wise,” Okajima said through a translator. “I just want to get back in 15 days, but I can’t say how long it will take.”

It also hasn’t been a good year on the field. Okajima is 4-3 with a 5.85 ERA and four blown saves, allowing 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 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. “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. 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.

“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.”

Pedroia hit .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 in the lineup.”

His return would help balance the loss of Youkilis, who was hitting .307 with 19 homers and 62 RBI.

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.

“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.”


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