After Kevin Youkilis made a sliding play at first base yesterday, he began immediately doing the kind of on-the-field stretching that suggested his back was bothering him again. It wasn’t a particularly violent play, but it was aggressive, a hard, feet-first slide to beat the runner and avoid contact.
“I think I’ve got to start diving (head first),” Youkilis said. “… For what I have, I think the big thing, when you have a bulging disc you don’t want to compress down on it.”
Youkilis was joking — I think — about the head-first slide, but no one is joking about the need to make sure Youkilis doesn’t over-do it and aggravate that back injury. He’s not playing today primarily as a precaution, a good chance to give him two days in a row with tomorrow’s off day. He’s available, just resting. It’s worth noting that he previously aggravated his back injury making basically the same play in late April.
“He’s played five days in a row and he’s coming off a back injury,” Joe Girardi said. “He’s stiff, a little stiff, just normal stiffness today so I just thought I’d give him a day.”
Youkilis basically dismissed the idea that he hurt himself yesterday. Just made a hard play and felt some expected soreness, but with Youkilis — and any player with a history of back trouble — there’s always a little extra concern.
“You want to make sure that it’s not anything more than that,” Girardi said. “If you can give him two days, it probably helps. You get him right back out there Tuesday.”
• As expected, Girardi said the Yankees will put Vidal Nuno on the Triple-A disabled list. Without Nuno or Chien-Ming Wang, Ivan Nova is clearly at the top of the minor league rotation depth chart. If the Yankees need a spot starter, have to think Nova is the easy choice. “I’m anxious to see his next start,” Girardi said. “We’ll see if we can back-to-back-to-back and get him on a roll. I thought he threw the ball well for us in relief. We want to see him get on a roll like he’s capable of.”
• Nothing really new on Eduardo Nunez who is doing rotational exercises again but has not tried to take batting practice again. “It’s that one step that seems to get in the way,” Girardi said.
• Derek Jeter is being examined by the ankle specialist Wednesday or Thursday. If he’s cleared, he could begin baseball activities.
Associated Press photos