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Youkilis gets the start at third tonight

Graffanino and Millar are back in the lineup

DETROIT --Kevin Youkilis will get the start at third base tonight and will take his first at-bat in the major leagues since July 9. When first baseman John Olerud is activated tomorrow, Youkilis will most likely be sent back to Pawtucket.

“I want to play Youk, it’s been hard, it’s been really hard” said manager Terry Francona. “He’s at a point in his career where he’s the guy (who’s been sent back and forth).”

Rehabbing reliever Keith Foulke will throw another bullpen session tomorrow, his fifth as he works toward a rehab stint. Foulke will throw to Trot Nixon on Friday, which will mark progress for both Foulke and Nixon. It will be Foulke’s first time facing a major league batter and Nixon’s first time facing a major league pitcher as they both work to get back on the active roster. Francona would not say what the plan was for Foulke beyond Friday’s session.

Francona did suggest that after a few more strenuous workouts, Nixon should be close to going out on a rehab assignment, which could possibly happen sometime next week.

When asked if there would be a period of time when both Foulke and Curt Schilling would be working out of the bullpen together, Francona said “I don’t know yet, I really don’t know, I hope not. I hope we do this well enough that we see enough out of Foulke that we know what we have.”

According to Francona, the team will not rush Foulke to a rehab assignment but will wait until they think he’s ready to pitch and have success with Pawtucket.

  • Tonight’s lineup:

    1. Johnny Damon, CF

    2. Edgar Renteria, SS

    3. David Ortiz, DH

    4. Manny Ramirez, LF

    5. Jason Varitek, C

    6. Kevin Millar, 1B

    7. Tony Graffanino, 2B

    8. Kevin Youkilis, 3B

    9. Gabe Kapler, RF

  • Going into tonight’s game against Tigers lefty starter Nate Robertson, the Sox rank third in the majors with a .289 average (346-for-1,198) against lefthanders. In their last 75 games vs. lefthanders beginning May 4, the Red Sox have hit .304 (284-for-938). Leading the way are Jason Varitek (who leads the AL with a .375 average against lefties), Johnny Damon (sixth at .344) and Edgar Renteria (10th at .336).

  • In addition to seeing their six-game winning streak snapped last night, the Sox saw their run of seven consecutive games with at least 10 hits come to an end.

  • Johnny Damon, the AL’s leading hitter, was held hitless last night for just the third time in his last 52 games with an at-bat beginning June 12.

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