New York Yankees third baseman Kevin Youkilis has been out since last Saturday against the Toronto Blue Jays (in Toronto) with a sore lower back. There were no initial plans to place him on the 15-day disabled list, though that could now become an option.

Bryan Hoch of reports that manager Joe Girardi would consider placing Youkilis on the DL if he does not play by this Saturday’s home game against the Blue Jays. Youkilis took swings in the batting cage Thursday, but the results did not warrant a comeback for that night’s game.

When asked about Youkilis’ status, Girardi said: “He’s not rotating the way he wants to rotate, which is kind of important for a hitter. He’s just not ready to go.”

If Youkilis were to be placed on the disabled list this Saturday, then it would likely be retroactive to last Saturday’s contest. This would already put him seven days through the 15-day timetable, allowing the Yankees to carry an extra position player for eight more days until Youkilis could return on May 5 at home against the Oakland Athletics.

The Yankees could also choose to give Youkilis that game off as well, as the following is an off day for the team. This would make Youkilis’ likely return May 7 at Colorado against the Rockies.

Rushing Youkilis back into the lineup is in nobody’s best interest. With little depth at the hot corner and first base, a healthy Youkilis is extremely important. Throw in his early-season numbers, and losing him for an extended period of time is out of the question.

Through 16 games (61 at-bats), Youkilis is hitting .279/.353/.443 with two home runs, seven RBI and four doubles. He also leads the league with four hit-by-pitches.

Getting Youkilis back healthy as quickly as possible should be a high priority for Girardi and the Yankees. The best-case scenario would be for him to be back in time to face left-hander J.A. Happ on Saturday, but putting him on the DL for another week would be a much safer option.

Regardless, don’t expect Youkilis to miss much time.

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