If the Yankees could have a do-over as it pertains to Kevin Youkilis, they would not have played him Saturday afternoon against Toronto. The move may have further injured his back, and as a result the Yankees placed him on the 15-day DL Tuesday.
The team is calling it a lumbar spine sprain, which occurs when the ligaments are torn from their attachments.
Saturday was his first action in a week and will be his only action until mid-May. Playing Youkilis on Saturday cost the Yankees an opportunity to back date his stint to his last game.
Since Youkilis last played on April 27, the first day he can return is May 13 when the Yankees play a doubleheader in Cleveland.
"You do the fire drill, you go through it, trainers, manager, coaches, player, doctor, everybody's involved, front office," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "And if it works you don't look back. If it doesn't work, you have regret. If we could do it all over again, we would not have played him last Saturday."
In his first 11 games, Youkilis was hitting .333 with a .404 on-base percentage. Since that point, Youkilis has three hits in his last 32 at-bats and his on-base percentage dropped 57 points.
The Yankees are hoping it’s only a 15-day injury, but Youkilis had the same issue a year ago and that cost him 23 days.
Youkilis was not at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday because he received an epidural injection in his back.
Joseph replaces Youkilis
A year ago, Youkilis’ back injury paved the way for highly regarded prospect Will Middlebrooks to join the Red Sox. Middlebrooks never returned to the minors before suffering a season-ending hand injury.
This year’s replacement for Youkilis on the roster is not as high up on the prospect list. Corban Joseph, a fourth-round pick of the Yankees in 2008, is here since he is the only other infielder on the 40-man roster.
Joseph is considered more of utility type than a third baseman and batted .273 with four home runs and nine RBI in 22 games for Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre. He had a .824 OPS while playing mostly second base and a little first base.
Yankee notes ...
» Cashman described the inflammation for Ivan Nova’s triceps as “mild.” He also said Curtis Granderson is getting closer to playing in minor league rehab games.
» Yankee pitchers began prepping for their first visit to a National League city next week in Colorado with some batting practice. During the session, Phil Hughes hit a home run to left field while David Phelps worked on his bunting.
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.