Delcarmen's battling a stiff back

BALTIMORE -- On the fifth pitch of his relief appearance against the Orioles on Sunday, Manny Delcarmen felt his lower back tighten up.

It was the bottom of the eighth inning and a critical moment with the game tied at 2-2. Red Sox starter John Lackey had worked seven strong innings when manager Terry Francona gave the ball to Delcarmen to start the eighth. The right-hander allowed one run on one hit with two walks in 1/3 of an inning worked.

“I tried to get on top of the ball and I couldn’t,” Delcarmen said. “Ramon [Ramirez] came in and picked me up and kept the game right there.”

Prior to the series finale, Delcarmen received treatment on his back and it’s been bothering him for the last three weeks.

“His lower back is stiff and it’s the same thing he’s dealt with on and off,” Francona said. “It looked like it was hard for him to drive the ball down in the zone. We’ll check him out after today.”

The timing of this couldn’t be any worse, especially given the fact he’s been throwing the ball well this season.

“I felt good warming up and confident when I went in the game,” he said. “But I haven’t been that off this season with the fastball up in the zone like that. I’ll [continue] treatment and hopefully in the next couple of days I’ll be good.”

After Delcarmen was removed from the game, he had the team’s massage therapist Russell Nua work on his back.

“Whatever he does, he does wonders because it feels good right now,” said Delcarmen. “Hopefully I don’t wake up too stiff tomorrow. I’ve got an old man’s back.”