BOSTON -- Due to a couple of unexpected circumstances, the Red Sox were without their potent 3-4 punch of Victor Martinez and Kevin Youkilis for Tuesday's opener of a three-game showdown against the Angels.
Martinez had soreness in the left leg as a result of his terrific block of the plate on Sunday, but the main reason he wasn't in the lineup is because of an important family matter that required him to return to Cleveland. Red Sox manager Terry Francona indicated that Martinez might also miss Wednesday's game.
"Something personal with the family came up that's very important back in Cleveland, so we gave him our blessing to go back there for the next couple of days, so you might not see him back in the lineup today or tomorrow," said Francona.
As for Youkilis, he spent part of Monday's off-day at Massachusetts General Hospital with intense pain that he thought might be the result of kidney stones. It turns out Youkilis was experiencing back spasms.
"I think he felt like he dove for that ball the other night and maybe it grabbed him," Francona said. "I think it's just normal things that happen. When your back spasms up, there's just not a lot you can do. Try to get it to un-spasm until it doesn't hurt."
In other words, Francona is unsure at this point if Youkilis can play Wednesday.
"I don't know. I hope so," Francona said. "If it's better, he'll play. If not, we'll wait. That's about the best we can do. He had already been over at MGH. He's back. That's what he has. Again, there's not much more you can do."
The Red Sox hope their lineup depth will benefit them while Youkilis and Martinez are out. Casey Kotchman started at first base with Mike Lowell playing third and Jason Varitek catching Daisuke Matsuzaka's first game back from the disabled list.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.