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Youkilis exits with wrist contusion

Youkilis exits with wrist contusion

BOSTON -- The Red Sox were able to exhale when X-rays taken on the right hand of Kevin Youkilis during Saturday's game against the Yankees came back negative. Youkilis had to leave the game after being plunked on the right wrist by a Chien-Ming Wang pitch in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Youkilis was diagnosed with a contusion and is day-to-day. The Red Sox went on to win the game, 10-1.

Initially, the injury looked like it could have been worse. Immediately after being hit, Youkilis went to the ground writhing in pain.

"Any time somebody gets hit in the wrist or the hand, there are so many bones there," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "His hand was shaking, he couldn't stop it. So yeah, there was a lot of concern."

It was the 15th time Youkilis had been hit by a pitch this season. Though Youkilis almost always tries to stay in the game in those instances, the pain was clearly too much in this case.

"For Youk, there wasn't much chance of him staying in the game," said Francona. "He's been hit a lot and he doesn't come out of games, so I was relieved when we got the report back."

Jacoby Ellsbury pinch-ran for Youkilis and stayed in the game in left field. Eric Hinske moved from left to first base.

Because the Red Sox were miffed last month when Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain threw two pitches over the head of Youkilis, it was fair to wonder if things might get tense after the first baseman was injured by a New York pitcher in this one.

Josh Beckett did hit Jason Giambi in the elbow in the seventh inning and a warning ensued from the umpiring crew. However, Giambi simply took his base and didn't make an issue out of it.

"I think everybody was just trying to grind it out," said Beckett. "We're playing against a tough team and I think that they'll say the same thing. Everything was fine."

The Red Sox are thankful Youkilis is OK. Aside from his on-base capability and 81 RBIs, Youkilis is a superb defender at first base. In fact, he has not made an error at the position all season.

It is also a position at which the Red Sox are not deep. The left-handed-hitting Hinske and David Ortiz are the only other players on the team with much experience at first. The Red Sox have recently been conducting some tutorials at first with outfielder Brandon Moss, who will play some first base in the Dominican Republic this winter.

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

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