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Youkilis returns for exam

Hip, hernia on list of maladies

By Peter Abraham and Nick Cafardo
Globe Staff / September 10, 2011

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Only seven games after returning from the disabled list, Kevin Youkilis was out of the Red Sox’ lineup last night, having returned to Boston to get a sore left hip examined.

He was diagnosed with bursitis and had an injection, according to manager Terry Francona. Depending on how Youkilis feels, the third baseman could rejoin the team as soon as tonight.

Major League sources told the Globe that Youkilis also has been diagnosed with a hernia that will likely require surgery after the season.

Francona said Youkilis was going to get last night’s game off regardless because of his assorted maladies.

“He was really limping the last couple of days, especially [Thursday],’’ Francona said.

Youkilis missed two games in April because of sore hips. He returned from the disabled list Sept. 2 after being out 15 days with a lower back strain. The cleanup hitter is 5 for 27 with two RBIs since returning to the lineup.

Now comes another injury. Francona said the hope was that Youkilis, “doesn’t have to limp through the last couple of weeks, because we need him.’’

Youkilis, 32, has missed 27 games. Along with his hip and back, he has missed games because of illness, a bruised left shin, a sore left ankle, a bruise on his back after being hit by a pitch, and a sore right hamstring.

Youkilis is hitting .261 with a .375 on-base percentage, well below his usual levels.

Jed Lowrie, who has a strained left shoulder, started at third base in last night’s 7-2 loss to the Rays and was 0 for 3. Lowrie is hitting .235 since coming off the disabled list Aug. 8.

Pedal power Josh Beckett was spotted riding an exercise bicycle. But for the third straight day he did not make himself available to reporters to discuss his sprained right ankle.

Beckett was pulled from Monday’s game in the fourth inning and returned to Boston to be checked out Tuesday.

“He’s doing much better today,’’ Francona said. “He can do his throwing and things like that, so he’s not going to get set back. We all know how important his five-day schedule is. When we get to that point, we’ll slot him in.’’

Back to Boston Erik Bedard, who missed a start because of a sore left knee, also has a strained lat muscle on the left side of his back. He, too, went back to Boston to be examined.

Francona described the strain as mild. Bedard is expected to rejoin the team today.

“We’ll slot him in when we think it’s appropriate. We don’t know when that is,’’ Francona said.

Bedard is 1-2 with a 3.66 earned run average in six games since being obtained from the Mariners July 31. The six innings he pitched against Texas Sept. 3 proved costly. Not only did Bedard aggravate the ligament strain in his knee, but favoring his knee led to the lat strain.

Francona believes that Bedard should be able to go deep in games once he is cleared to pitch.

“The one thing with Erik is the time off doesn’t seem to affect him,’’ Francona said. “As long as he goes out with health, he can still pitch a good major league game.’’

Buchholz progressing Clay Buchholz extended his throwing regimen to 120 feet. The righthander also said he added more intensity to his throwing.

“I put a lot into it,’’ he said after making 70 throws. “I feel fine.’’

Francona termed it an “aggressive’’ workout.

“He had a really good day,’’ the manager said. “It’s encouraging when he starts getting out that far and he starts feeling better and better.’’

Buchholz said earlier this week that getting out to 120 feet would be the final step before he tries throwing off the mound. But the Red Sox, who have been cautious with Buchholz all along, may have him repeat the long-toss session. Buchholz has not pitched since June because of a stress fracture in his back.

“It’s still good news that he’s tolerating everything so well,’’ Francona said. “The one thing we want him to do is go home from this season feeling good so he can have pretty much normal workouts.

“If he continues to do well, though, him pitching in our season hasn’t been ruled out. That’s kind of where we’re at.’’

Atchison arrives With the team’s pitching staff getting thinner by the day, Scott Atchison was recalled from Triple A Pawtucket. The 35-year-old righthander has been called up six times this season. With the rosters expanded to 40, he is likely to remain for the rest of the season. Atchison entered last night’s game in the fourth inning after John Lackey made an early exit and went 2 2/3 innings, allowing two runs . . . Jacoby Ellsbury was 1 for 4, extending his hitting streak to 14 games . . . Dustin Pedroia is 2 for his last 27 . . . Daisuke Matsuzaka, who has been rehabbing from Tommy John elbow surgery in Fort Myers, Fla., was in the clubhouse before the game . . . Pawtucket will host an International League playoff game at 6:05 p.m. today. If necessary, Game 4 of the best-of-five series against Lehigh Valley will be tomorrow at 1:05 p.m., with Game 5 Monday at 6:05 p.m. . . . Reliever Michael Bowden turned 25 yesterday and Ellsbury hits 28 tomorrow.

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.

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