ST. PETERSBURG -- One of the few Red Sox stars to avoid the injury bug this season, first baseman Kevin Youkilis had to leave Tuesday night's 3-2 loss to the Rays in the top of the fourth inning with cramping in his right ankle.
For once, however, it appears the Red Sox have avoided bad news on the medical front. By the end of the night, Youkilis was moving well and expected to resume his spot at first base and in the cleanup spot for Wednesday night's series finale.
"I wish I could tell you what happened," said Youkilis. "Basically, I was out in the field and it felt like I had a cramp in my ankle, which is the most strange thing ever. But basically what they said is you have a capsule, and somehow I irritated it, and my entire ankle locked up. We just basically treated it, and about half an hour ago, I started to get a little movement. I'll be ready to go tomorrow. Just a freak little thing. It could be maybe from the turf and all that. It's just very odd."
It has been that kind of season for the Red Sox.
"Well, I think mine was hopefully just a daily thing and you've just got to move on," Youkilis said. "When you're playing baseball 162 games in 187 days, there's going to be little things that happen. I don't know how Cal Ripken did it. It's amazing. But you go on this turf sometimes, you get little things that happen that are a little funky. Your body doesn't always feel good. We'll be all right. We'll weather the storm. It can't get any worse, so it can only get better."
Meanwhile, Youkilis pulled in front of Nick Swisher in the American League Final Vote balloting on Tuesday, keeping his hopes alive of becoming Boston's seventh All-Star. Fans can vote as many times as they want until Thursday at 4 p.m. ET.
But Youkilis is more concerned right now about helping the Red Sox win games. And their chances of doing so diminished greatly when he left Tuesday's game. For the final six innings, utilityman Niuman Romero had to bat fourth in place of Youkilis, resulting in David Ortiz being intentionally walked in his final three at-bats.
The Red Sox have several impact players on the disabled list, including Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez, Jason Varitek, Josh Beckett and Jacoby Ellsbury.
"I've been playing this game for so long and I have never seen anything like this before -- ever," Ortiz said. "We go through injuries every year and things like that, but what I'm seeing right now is like a curse. I'm just talking trash, but, man, you know, it doesn't even sound right. I mean, you have nine guys on the DL? Guys that are everyday, pretty much, players? When was the last time you heard something like that? Tell me."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.