After missing three straight games with a stiff back, the third baseman said he was diagnosed with an "irritated joint." In the ninth inning on Tuesday, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine attempted to convince Oakland that Youkilis would be pinch-hitting.
But the Athletics didn't fall for the decoy. Even as the 33-year-old Youkilis stood with the bat in the Red Sox dugout, he admitted to sensing a surge of pain in his back.
"It's going to take me three or four days of just trying to get through and not try to do too much baseball stuff where it can irritate it more," Youkilis said. "We're trying to make strides and steps forward. That's the key right now."
To offset the move, the Red Sox have promoted prospect Will Middlebrooks to the majors. Middlebrooks, a third baseman, has flourished in Pawtucket, hitting nine homers and knocking in 27 RBIs through 24 games.
A Red Sox 2007 fifth-round pick out of high school, the 23-year-old expressed excitement about making his major league debut and batting eighth in the order against Oakland pitcher Brandon McCarthy.
"I'd be lying to you if I said I wasn't going to be nervous," Middlebrooks said. "[I'm] just going to go out there and have fun. Just to play my game, be Will Middlebrooks. Don't try to be anyone else, just try to come out here, play your game."
In the meantime, Youkilis doesn't expect to undergo an MRI. He simply plans to continue working with the training staff.
"The last couple of days have been bad and we've tried to get through it, and we've made great strides from [Tuesday] to [Wednesday]," Youkilis said. "Things are going well, but they just wanted to get a step ahead of it and try to get me as healthy as possible."
Through nine games, Youkilis has been hitting .219 with two home runs and nine RBIs.
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