Drew almost back; Youk eyes Tuesday
Outfielder's left quad, first baseman's left side on mend
BOSTON -- While the earliest Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis will be back in the lineup is Tuesday night in Anaheim, right fielder J.D. Drew was also out of the mix for Saturday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
With his left quad barking of late, Drew got a scheduled day off, which worked reasonably well for the Red Sox because lefty Scott Kazmir was the opponent. Manager Terry Francona plans on having Drew back at his disposal for Sunday night's series finale, when nasty right-hander Matt Garza faces Boston.
"It's just sore and we don't want it to turn into something more," Francona said of Drew's quad. "We had kind of had that planned all along."
Rocco Baldelli stepped in for Drew and played right field, serving as the No. 6 hitter. Jeff Bailey again filled in for Youkilis at first base.
Fortunately for Drew, when he blasted his game-winning hit on Friday night -- a two-run homer to right -- no sprinting was necessary.
"I felt it tightened up pretty good a couple of days ago and felt it last night, and kind of limited myself on having to sprint as fast as I could," said Drew. "It worked out well."
It's unlikely Youkilis -- sore left side -- would have been able to return Sunday night in any case, but the fact that Monday is an off-day for the Red Sox made it more of a no-brainer for Francona to rule out that possibility.
"He'd have to feel really good [Sunday]," said Francona. "With that day off Monday, we'll try to use that to our advantage. Since it's gone this far, we don't want to [risk] a DL [stint] because we tried to use him one game."
In the meantime, Youkilis was ready to spend his fifth straight day on the bench on Saturday. He admitted that task is made more bearable by the way Jason Bay has served in the cleanup spot during his absence.
"He can hit there. If he's going to hit the way he is, he can stay there," said Youkilis of Bay. "I'll hit anywhere in the lineup except for leadoff. I don't mind. I'll hit sixth, I don't mind. I've hit there before. I don't think it bothers any of these guys here. It's such a good lineup. I'll hit sixth, seventh -- I don't care. It's actually better to hit sixth or seventh, you get more RBIs [in this lineup]."
Though Youkilis says that he isn't a fan of watching baseball, he admits his teammates have been putting on a pretty good show for him.
"We're winning," Youkilis said. "If we were losing, yeah, I'd be really [mad]. I don't like to sit and watch baseball games, it's not fun. But it's fun to watch this. Twelve-run inning with no outs, that was fun to watch. Last night was fun to watch. It's a lot easier when we're playing good baseball. Watching these guys play good baseball is awesome."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.