BOSTON — Kevin Youkilis has returned to the lineup of the slumping Boston Red Sox, hoping he can help them gain a playoff spot in the final two weeks.
The third baseman had missed three games with bursitis in his left hip and a sports hernia. He had been on the disabled list from Aug. 18 to Sept. 2 with a back injury. Youkilis said the three injuries are related to each other.
But just as Youkilis returned, another big bat was knocked out of the Boston lineup.
Designated hitter David Ortiz left Tuesday night’s game against Toronto with back spasms before he even had a chance to hit.
Ortiz, batting .313 with 29 homers and 92 RBIs, was in the starting lineup card that was exchanged at home plate before the game and was due to bat cleanup. But as Adrian Gonzalez was hitting in the first inning it was Jed Lowrie, not Ortiz, waiting on deck.
Lowrie struck out on three pitches for the second out in a two-run inning. One inning later, it was revealed that Ortiz came out due to back spasms.
Because the lineup cards had been exchanged, Ortiz was officially in and then out of the game, making him unavailable for the rest of the night.
Boston also summoned pitchers Trever Miller and Junichi Tazawa, speedy outfielder Joey Gathright, shortstop Jose Iglesias and first baseman Lars Anderson from the minors. Outfielder J.D. Drew was transferred from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL and outfielder Nate Spears was designated for assignment.
After a 1-6 road trip, the Red Sox began the day with a three-game lead over Tampa Bay for the AL wild-card spot.
“I’m not concerned. We’re still ahead and it’s in our control,” Youkilis said.
Youkilis said he’d received an injection to help him deal with the hip and that he will have surgery to repair the hernia after the season.
“The bottom line for me is just going out and playing through it,” he said. “There are a lot of guys banged up … I’ll just go day to day and play it as I can tolerate it.”
Manager Terry Francona disclosed that reliever Bobby Jenks, out with a back injury that has him on the disabled list for the third time this season, has a small pulmonary embolism that was detected during the testing on his back. Francona said Jenks is taking medication to treat the problem.
Francona said the embolism was discovered a while ago.
“He’s doing great, but that’s what happened,” he said.
Francona also said ace Josh Beckett, sidelined by a sprained right ankle, has progressed to the point where he figures to start either Thursday or Friday.
Clay Buchholz, who hasn’t pitched since June 16 because of a back injury, is playing catch and hopes to throw a bullpen session later this week. Buchholz still hopes to pitch this season.