, Newburyport, MA


February 27, 2013

Yankees taking cautious approach with Youkilis

TAMPA, Fla. — Kevin Youkilis said he was “fine,” that he had “no concerns whatsoever.”

The Yankees’ response?

Not so fast.

With an aging roster and having already lost a starting pitcher for a short time and a starting outfielder for quite a bit more than that, the Yankees weren’t taking any chances.

After Youkilis told trainers Monday about feeling “tight” in his left oblique, the Yankees scratched him from yesterday’s game against the Phillies in Clearwater.

“I’m fine,” Youkilis said. “I could have played today and been perfectly fine, but they were like, ‘we’re going to sit you out, it’s Feb. 26.”“

In the last seven days, the Yankees lost Phil Hughes for at least two weeks because of two bulging discs in his back and Curtis Granderson for 10 weeks after a J.A. Happ pitch broke his right forearm Sunday.

Youkilis, 33, has been injury- plagued in recent seasons. A back problem limited him to 122 games for the Red Sox and White Sox last year.

Neither Youkilis nor Joe Girardi sees what the Yankees called a “sore left oblique” as the start of a Nick Johnson-like season.

“I don’t think it’s anything serious, but we’re being really cautious because you can be right now,” Girardi said. “He won’t play today, and we’ll probably re-evaluate him after a couple of days.”

Youkilis didn’t sound like a player who will be out even that long. “I got up today, was moving around fine,” he said. “I wanted to play today, I was perfectly fine to play today. I didn’t feel like there’s any risk.”

Youkilis smiled. “It’s very, very mild, just a little thing that happens,” he said. “I think I kind of learned my lesson, too. Don’t say you’re tight.”

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