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The Red Sox have been placed third baseman Kevin Youkilis to the 15-day disabled list thanks to a sore back he’s been suffering from. Catcher Ryan Lavarnway has been called up from Pawtucket to fill the spot left open in Youkilis’ absence.
The Sox All-Star at the hot corner has played in only three games since August 10 because of nagging back pain. Youkilis stayed back in Boston Thursday to have tests done at Mass General Hospital, while his team traveled to Kansas City. Along with the tests he received an injection in his lower back.
“His lower back’s been bothering him for a while,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “Hopefully two weeks down will really allow his body to come back and we can have the Youk that we need for the stretch drive.”
Youkilis is hitting .266 with 17 home runs and 78 RBIs this season.
The beneficiary of the open roster spot, Ryan Lavarnway, just recently became the first Red Sox minor leaguer since 2004 to hit at least 30 home runs in a season.
Francona had this to say about the 24 year-old prospect.
“We’re really excited about that. Maybe this kid comes in and gives us a spark,”
Lavarnway is said to have a high baseball IQ, good plate discipline and can drive the ball to all fields. Between Double-A Portland and Pawtucket this year he is batting .293.
He has struggled, going only 5-for-44 in August, but three of the five hits were homers.
With DH David Ortiz out for about a week with right heel bursitis, Lavarnway has been penciled into the lineup as the DH in the seventh spot Thursday night.
Follow Brian Moller on Twitter: @Brian_Moller