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09/06/08 7:24 PM ET
With personal matters set, Youk returns
Cleanup hitter reclaims spot in lineup after missing five of six
By Shawn Shroyer / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Kevin Youkilis was back with the Red Sox on Saturday and back in the lineup, hitting cleanup behind David Ortiz. But, more importantly, the personal issues that kept him from traveling with the team to Texas have been settled. "Everything's good back home and that's the key," Youkilis said. And the extra day off, which cost Youkilis his fifth game in Boston's last six, didn't do his back any harm, either. So, considering the Red Sox won, 8-1, Friday without his services, it all worked out for the best. After taking a morning flight out of Boston to rejoin his teammates in Arlington, Youkilis said his back was fine. "I'm good," Youkilis said. "I'm glad to be back and ready to play. I'm definitely feeling better the last couple of days and I just want it to carry on." Youkilis had missed the Red Sox's last two games of August with the flu. He appeared in Boston's first game of September, going 0-for-4, but missed the club's next two games entering Friday due to back spasms. The seemingly unrelated health issues were apparently connected. "It was probably just from the flu, by being dehydrated and lying in bed all the time," Youkilis said of his back spasms. "The doctor said that's not uncommon that, before you know it, the body tightens up." After having to use Mark Kotsay in the cleanup spot on Friday, manager Terry Francona was pleased to have his home run and RBI leader back in the lineup. "With the personal stuff, you never want to see that happen, but everything's OK and it was probably good for his back," Francona said.
Shawn Shroyer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.