BOSTON (AP) Just when the Boston Red Sox are getting their better hitters back from injury, they’ve lost one of their best for the season.
First baseman Kevin Youkilis is scheduled to have season-ending surgery for a torn muscle in his right thumb on Friday in Cleveland. He left Monday night’s 6-5 loss to the Indians with the injury.
“I think Youkilis was pretty resolved to the fact this was probably what was going to happen,” manager Terry Francona said before the finale of the four-game series with Cleveland.
Batting cleanup for most of the season, Youkilis is hitting .307 with 19 homers and 62 RBIs. Francona said that Mike Lowell, who came off the disabled list when Youkilis went on it Tuesday, is expected to play at least four of the next five games at first base.
Centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury returned to the lineup on Wednesday after broken ribs limited him to nine games all season. Catcher Victor Martinez was sidelined for 23 games with a broken left thumb before returning July 26. And Lowell missed 34 games with a strained right hip.
But several key players remain sidelined.
On Thursday, second baseman Dustin Pedroia missed his 34th game with a broken left foot and catcher sat out his 30th with a fractured right foot. Pedroia, the 2008 AL MVP, has been jogging and taking batting practice but cannot run without pain. Centerfielder Mike Cameron went on the disabled list Monday with a lower abdominal strain.
“As tough as it is to lose Youkilis, I think we’re pretty fortunate,” Francona said. “I don’t know how many teams can take a Youkilis out and put a Lowell in. I guess that’s how I prefer to look at it.”
Youkilis was examined Thursday by Dr. Thomas Graham, who is scheduled to perform the surgery.
On Monday night, Youkilis lined out to end the first inning, grabbed his hand in pain but stayed in the game until the third.
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