ST. PETERSBURG -- Michael Young's absence from the lineup over the past two days because of neck stiffness has coincided with the Rangers' two-game losing streak against the Rays, and the frustration is beginning to grow for the third baseman.

"It's a day-to-day thing now, or I guess you could say it's an hour-by-hour deal," said Young, who also missed Wednesday's series finale. "It's still stiff, and I'm trying to be patient as much as I can."

Young woke up with stiffness in his neck on Monday morning but felt he could play through it. He made it through seven innings in the series opener with the Rays, going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, before informing manager Ron Washington that he could no longer play.

"I thought it might loosen up with some movement in the field and up at the plate, but it never did," Young said. "I just couldn't swing well and knew I had to get out of there."

Young has been doing heat and electrical stimulation therapy over the past two days and said there is some progress since Tuesday. He's tried to take some baseball swings, but it still hurts him to the point he has to stop.

"It felt a little better this morning," he said. "I'll know when it's good enough to actually play. I just am trying to get it better as soon as possible."

Boggs came close to providing relief

ST. PETERSBURG -- Now pitching ... Brandon Boggs?

Yes, it's true. Boggs was warming up in the bullpen during Tuesday night's 10-1 loss, but after the outfielder tossed a few pitches off the rubber, manager Ron Washington had a change of heart and brought in Darren O'Day for the last inning. The right-hander tossed a scoreless frame.

"He was real close, but I decided to go with the pitcher instead," Washington said. "He pitched some in high school and college, so he knew what to do. I was going to give him an inning, but I decided to go with a pitcher because I had one available."

So what if Boggs had entered?

"I just told him to go in and throw fastballs, nothing else, I don't care," Washington said. "If they hit, they hit it. I just didn't want him to get hurt."

Though there is no official record of Boggs pitching during his three-year career at Georgia Tech, the 27-year-old said that he spent enough time on the mound at Pope High School in Marietta, Ga., and during his time with his AAU team in Cobb County to know what to do if his number was called.

"Yeah, I had it covered, easy," Boggs joked. "Just throw strikes, simple."

When Washington was asked why he didn't go with outfielder Mitch Moreland, who compiled a 25-2 record over three seasons at Amory (Miss.) High School, he said it was too risky.

"He knew too much, and I didn't want him to get up there and think he was a pitcher and hurt himself," Washington said.

Managers have been known to put position players on the mound when a game is either out of hand or when most of their relievers have been used. This season the Cardinals used utility man Felipe Lopez in the 18th inning of a home contest against the Mets before fellow multipurpose guy Joe Mather switched places with Lopez (from third base) in the 19th to finish the game. He ultimately took the loss by giving up a sacrifice fly.

Hamilton gets another start as DH

ST. PETERSBURG -- Josh Hamilton was used as the designated hitter for the second straight game on Wednesday, the first time this season he has done so in back-to-back games. Manager Ron Washington said the decision was more as a preventative measure than anything else.

"I just want to get him off the turf and keep him healthy heading into September," Washington said. "The past three series against the Rays, Yankees and Red Sox have been physically and mentally stressful for all the guys, so any rest they can get is a good thing."

Hamilton, who had an injury-plagued 2009 campaign, is having an MVP-caliber season but is 1-for-8 with a walk and three HBPs over the past three games. This is the first time he has had as few as one hit in a span of three straight starts since May 14-16 at Toronto's Rogers Centre -- coincidentally, a turf field as well.

With Hamilton at DH, David Murphy started at left, Julio Borbon in center and Vladimar Guerrero in right, as they did on Tuesday.

"It'll be a good thing for Vlad to be out in the field again to feel comfortable again," Washington said. "He started elevating the ball last night, so playing out there for another game may continue to help him. I'll just keep my fingers crossed with him on the turf."

Guererro went 1-for-4 with a hard-hit double to left-center on Tuesday and hit a liner to left field that Rays left fielder Carl Crawford tracked down with some effort. With the hit, Guererro has a five-game hitting streak but is batting .206 over his last nine games.

Worth noting

Right-hander Rich Harden, who went on the disabled list on Sunday with tendinitis in his shoulder, had been scheduled to make a rehab start on Tuesday for Triple-A Oklahoma City but was pushed back until Wednesday. ... Catcher Matt Treanor, who went 0-for-2 on Monday in his first rehab assignment with Oklahoma City, did not play on Tuesday but is expected to make another start on Wednesday. Treanor went on the DL on July 24 with a right knee PCL strain.