Youkilis to have surgery to repair herniated disc, will miss minimum of 10-to-12 weeks
General manager Brian Cashman announced prior to Tuesday's game that Youkilis has a herniated disc in his back that will require surgery, and the third baseman will be out of action a minimum of 10 to 12 weeks. Dr. Robert Watkins, the Los Angeles-area back and spine specialist who performed an MRI on Youkilis over the weekend, will perform the microdiscectomy surgery on Thursday out in California.
"This is not how you draw it up, no doubt about it, but he's gotta get it fixed and there's nothing we can do about it," Cashman said about Youkilis' injury. "I'd rather not know he's out, but it is what it is. Kevin is in the best medical care with Dr. Watkins and his associates, and he's no longer an option for us for the next two months or so."
Cashman also reiterated that the herniated disc was a new finding on a new MRI, saying that "basically, his injury has gotten worse over time."
Youkilis was placed on the disabled list on Friday after waking up with numbness in his foot that wouldn't go away; he had played all 18 innings of the previous day's game in Oakland, and Cashman reiterated that Friday was the first time Youkilis felt any new effects of a potential injury.
The 34-year-old signed a one-year, $12 million contract this winter to replace Alex Rodriguez at third base, and is hitting .219 with two home runs and eight RBI in 28 games this season.
"He looked great in the spring and we had high hopes," Cashman said of Youkilis. "He did so much for Boston over the years, and he's the type of player you want - a gamer with power and plate discipline. He's not he player he used to be, but he demolishes left-handed pitching, and with Alex's injury, he was best option if he was healthy."
Youkilis was initially removed from a game in Toronto on April 20 with stiffness in his back, and he sat out a week before returning on April 27 - but he played just that one game, also against the Jays, before being placed on the disabled list and missing five weeks with what was termed a lumbar strain.
He missed five weeks and returned alongside Mark Teixeira on May 31, and was 6-for-41 (.146) with 11 strikeouts in 11 games since his return.
For now, Cashman said that David Adams will continue to be the primary third baseman, and although the team expects Alex Rodriguez - who tracked pitches during live batting practice on Tuesday - back sometime around the All-Star break, the GM will continue to scour the market as usual in the interim.
"You're always looking for an upgrade, but we expect Alex back," he said. "We're going with what we have and if we run into something that makes sense, we'll look at that."
As for Youkilis, if the initial 10-to-12 week timeframe is taken from his date of surgery, that puts his minimum return anywhere between August 29 and September 12 - meaning that he likely will not return until rosters expand on September 1, if at all this season.
Youkilis will remain on the 15-day disabled list for now, and Cashman said he will be moved to the 60-day disabled list if needed.