BALTIMORE -- J.D. Drew's main motivation for exiting Sunday's Red Sox game in the third inning was to calm his back spasms in time to be able to be back in the lineup on Monday night.
The plan was a good one, but it didn't work for the right fielder. Much to Drew's chagrin, the right side of his lower back was even stiffer a day later, meaning that he could not start the opener of a three-game series at Camden Yards.
"You know what, it's pretty stiff today," Drew said. "I thought I caught it in time yesterday during the game to be able to play today, but it just continually got more and more stiff. Today, it's pretty stiff. But I've had some good success with some contrast stuff, so we'll try that today and see how it goes tomorrow."
With Drew out of the mix, manager Terry Francona moved Jacoby Ellsbury to right field while giving Coco Crisp the start in center.
Drew has dealt with back woes at various times throughout his career. There have been at least three occasions this season -- starting with just moments before Opening Day in Japan -- when his back has locked up on him.
"I don't know what's going on this year," said Drew. "It's been crazy. It's one of those things where it goes on for a couple of days and then goes away and I feel great and don't have any warnings. Yesterday, the last batter that [Josh] Beckett faced, he gave up that base hit and I went to back up Ellsbury, and about halfway over there, I kind of felt it tighten up and I finished up that half-inning. We'll see. Hopefully, it's sooner vs. later."
The Red Sox are hoping for the same thing. With Mike Lowell already on the disabled list, losing a productive bat such as Drew's is significant.
"It's just one of those things," Drew said. "Like I said, I've had an injury a long time ago in St. Louis and had some real bad flareups. It's pretty aggravating to miss some games with it. I just kind of wish it would go away. You get it feeling good and you don't think anything about it, and then the next thing you know, it kind of pops back up. It almost feels like a little shock going up your back."
Drew thought he had found a great way to strengthen his back last winter, taking up bowling with his father-in-law.
"I can't do it during the season," Drew said. "I felt great coming into the season, I'm trying to figure out something. Right now, I couldn't even think about trying to pick up a bowling ball."
Now, it's just a matter of when he can pick up a bat again. Best case scenario would be Tuesday night.
"We'll treat it today and see how it feels tomorrow," said Drew. "I definitely don't want to be laid up on a training table with ice on my back. We'll try to get it better."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.