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Okajima lands on DL due to hamstring issue

08.06.10 at 8:11 pm ET

NEW YORK — In his first three major league seasons, the absence of Red Sox left-hander Hideki Okajima for an extended stretch would have represented a subject worthy of panic. The southpaw was an integral part of the bullpen, and in extended stretches, one of the best setup men in baseball.

That has not been the case this year. Of the 156 relievers to appear in at least 30 games this year, Okajima’s 5.85 ERA ranked 148th entering Friday.

“I understand that my results on the field haven’t been there,” Okajima acknowledged through a translator.

And so, after he struggled badly on Thursday, allowing a pair of hits and walking a batter while retiring just one hitter, the Sox could be forgiven if they were relieved when Okajima walked into the office of manager Terry Francona and informed him that he was feeling discomfort in his right hamstring, the latest hiccup in a season in which he’s dealt with both hamstring and back injuries since spring training.

“It hasn’€™t been a great year healthwise,” said Okajima. “I had a problem with my hip and back for a while, but I felt something in my hamstring yesterday when I threw, so I feel that the problem with my hip and back came down into my hamstring.”

Since Okajima would not have been available for at least 10 days, the Sox quickly made the decision to put him on the disabled list, and to summon minor leaguer Felix Doubront in his place. He left Yankee Stadium to head back to Boston on Friday in order to receive acupuncture treatment, and it remains to be seen when he will come back.

“I want to be back in the fifteen days, but I can’€™t predict how long it will take,” said Okajima. “I’€™ll get the treatment and see how it goes.”

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