Kevin Youkilis is back in the Red Sox’s lineup tonight after missing four games with a sports hernia that will eventually require surgery.
Jed Lowrie and Mike Aviles played third base in Youkilis’ absence, but he’s back at the hot corner tonight and batting fifth against the Blue Jays.
Youkilis previously spent two weeks on the disabled list with a back injury and went just 5-for-27 (.185) in seven games before being sidelined again. Overall this season he’s missed 29 of 146 games and has his lowest on-base percentage (.375) and slugging percentage (.467) since 2007.
He did, however, have a nice little cameo in the “Moneyball” movie.
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.
It’s been a tough season for the mythology of Jonny Gomes‘ veteran clubhouse savior reputation.
First he signed with the rebuilding Braves and performed poorly while Atlanta fell apart after a surprisingly decent start. Then he was traded to the Royals, for whom he played just 12 games and hit .167. And now Kansas City has left Gomes off the ALDS roster.
It makes sense, though. Gomes’ only real use to the Royals would be as a pinch-hitter versus left-handed pitching, but manager Ned Yost rarely pinch-hits and will no doubt be more willing to use 25th man Terrance Gore as a pinch-runner in the late innings.
Beyond that, not many surprises on the Royals’ roster for their series against the Astros. They went with 11 pitchers, which means both Chris Young and Kris Medlen are on the roster. Jeremy Guthrie is not.