The Boston Red Sox placed Dustin Pedroia on the disabled list before Friday's game against the Yankees at Fenway, according to multiple reports.
The team will now have to play a crucial four-game set without its star second baseman. The already injury-riddled Red Sox sit 7.5 games back in the American League East at the start of play Friday, and they risk slipping into irrelevance with a bad weekend.
Pedroia was placed on the 15-day DL with what manager Bobby Valentine called a sprained right thumb.
Boston recalled infielder Pedro Ciriaco from Triple-A Pawtucket in a corresponding move.
Pedroia, a three-time All-Star and the 2008 AL MVP, has slumped to a .266 average and .326 on-base percentage with just six home runs this season. He's been bothered by a partially torn adductor muscle in his right thumb for over a month, though Valentine said the current malady is unrelated.
Pedroia sprained his thumb making a diving play in Oakland on Tuesday and hasn't played since.
Nick Punto will start at second base and bat ninth on Friday. Punto is hitting .180 with one home run in 89 at-bats this season.
Not seeing Pedroia in the lineup is a welcome sight for the Yankees. Pedroia has a .318 average and .391 on-base percentage in 79 games against them.
Rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks is also out of Friday's lineup, with Mauro Gomez playing the hot corner and batting seventh. Middlebrooks, who's been bothered by a sore left hamstring, is hitting .298 with 10 home runs this season.