Red Sox on the mend

BOSTON -- The M*A*S*H unit for the Boston Red Sox remains on the mend.

* First baseman Kevin Youkilis, who has been dealing with back spasms, was drilled on the right elbow by a pitch and was sore Sunday morning, so manager Terry Francona decided it would be best to give him the day off from the starting lineup, especially with no game on Monday.

* After the Red Sox placed pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka on the 15-day disabled list with strained right forearm, Francona said the right-hander was feeling much better Sunday.

“He says he feels great, which is good,” Francona said. “I would rather him show up and have that. We certainly need to delve into it a little more, but he actually feels pretty good, so we’re cautiously optimistic about that.”

Red Sox medical director Dr. Thomas Gill was scheduled to examine Matsuzaka this morning.

* Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett played catch at 90 feet this morning with head trainer Mike Reinold looking on. Francona said Beckett also feels good.

* Outfielder Jeremy Hermida is feeling better, too. He was placed on the DL this week with five fractured ribs, the result of a collision with third baseman Adrian Beltre last week in Baltimore. According to Francona, Hermida has been riding the stationary bike and has been receiving treatment and the swelling is going down. He’s still not allowed to participate in baseball activities.

"We’ll give him some time to get better before he starts to get aggressive again, but I think he’s feeling a little bit better each day,” Francona said.