BOSTON -- The last thing the Red Sox needed was their most reliable pitcher leaving a game holding his throwing shoulder in pain.
But the horrendous stretch of medical bad luck continued Friday when Jonathan Papelbon left Friday's game with one out in the ninth inning after throwing a pitch to Toronto's Lyle Overbay.
"Basically, I felt it a couple of pitches before I actually felt the larger strain," Papelbon said. "Right now, we don't really know what's going on. It's just basically some sort of strain in my shoulder. That's basically what we're going to go on right now."
Papelbon, who allowed two hits in the ninth, will have the shoulder examined first thing when he gets to the park Saturday morning.
"The doctors and the trainers think it's just a fatigue issue," Papelbon said. "Hopefully, it is, and I'll be back in a few days. That would be the best-case scenario. So that's what I'm looking for and hoping for."
Asked if he was concerned, Red Sox manager Terry Francona didn't hesitate.
"Very. We obviously don't know what's going on but the hope is that there's [only] fatigue," Francona said. "We will know a lot more in the next couple of days. He has to be examined extensively. He said he felt a burning sensation. That's about it."
Papelbon set Boston's single-season rookie record by notching his 25th save on July 2. He leads American League rookies with 35 saves and was two outs shy of his 36th when he suffered the injury Friday night.
"It was scary just because of the fact that when you throw a pitch and you let go and you feel something that's not normal, panic starts to set in, obviously," Papelbon said. "I knew something was wrong and I should come out of the game, so I looked at the bench and they knew."
"The main concern was getting him out of there," Francona added. "I saw him after [the game] and he said he felt better, so we are very hopeful. I wouldn't have pitched him if I felt he was already hurting. The burning sensation is in the shoulder area. And he felt something a couple of pitches beforehand, not a whole lot different from normal. He was bothered at the point of release."
Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.