UPDATE: Youkilis is back in the Red Sox’s lineup and batting cleanup tonight.
J.D. Drew isn’t ready to return from the disabled list yet, but Kevin Youkilis is expected to come off the shelf and rejoin the Red Sox’s lineup for tonight’s game against the Rangers.
Youkilis has been out since August 18 with a strained lower back, but went 2-for-8 with a homer during a brief rehab assignment at Triple-A, deeming himself “good to go” and “as good as I can be for September.”
Youkilis was in a prolonged slump before being shut down, hitting just .181 in his last 20 games, although he did have four homers and 10 walks during that time. Jed Lowrie has started 14 of 16 games at third base in Youkilis’ absence, with Mike Aviles drawing the other two starts.
If nothing else his return should help the Red Sox games drag on even longer.
Thursday is September 1, which means rosters expand. As a result, the Nationals plan to promote pitcher Mat Latos to the major league roster, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Latos had an opt-out clause for Monday, but after discussing the matter with the team, he agreed to stay at Triple-A Syracuse until Thursday.
Latos, 28, put up a 4.62 ERA over 11 starts with the White Sox before being released in mid-June. Nearly two weeks later, he signed a minor league contract with the Nationals.
In the Nationals’ minor league system, Latos has made three starts for the club’s Gulf Coast League team as well as three for Syracuse. In aggregate, the right-hander has yielded six runs (four earned) on 20 hits and 10 walks with 28 strikeouts in 28 innings.
Latos will likely pitch out of a long relief role for the Nationals and can be used as starting rotation insurance as well.
Mark Buehrle hasn’t officially retired, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in professional baseball since last October. Still, the Blue Jays wouldn’t mind having some insurance, so manager John Gibbons recently texted Buehrle, “You know, rosters expand in September,” Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports.
Buehrle’s response? He texted back a picture of a lake. Sounds like he’s not interested in making a return, at least this year.
Last year, at the age of 36, Buehrle went 15-8 with a 3.81 ERA with a 91/33 K/BB ratio in 198 2/3 innings while leading the league with four complete games. He fell 1 1/3 innings shy of a 15th consecutive 200-inning season. There are many worse ways to end a career.