Update: Boston made it official, placing Youkilis on the 60-day disabled list to open up a roster for Clay Buchholz prior to Wednesday’s game.
Kevin Youkilis hasn’t officially been ruled out for the playoffs if the Red Sox end up winning the Wild Card, but manager Terry Francona indicated today that he’s not expecting to have him back in the lineup before 2012.
“The writing is kind of on the wall,” Francona told Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. “I don’t think you’re going to see him play again. I wish he would, and he’s tried so hard and he’s been open to doing anything. I just don’t know that’s going to happen.”
Youkilis hasn’t played since September 15 because of hip bursitis and a sports hernia, which he’ll need surgery to fix at some point during the offseason. In his absence Jed Lowrie and Mike Aviles have split time at third base, but not being able to count on Youkilis’ middle-of-the-order bat is a tough break for Boston.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Nationals will ask to speak with Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora after the American League Championship Series concludes on Saturday. This comes on the heels of the news that club manager Dusty Baker will not be returning to the team in 2018.
Cora, 42, has some experience in the Nationals’ organization. He played for the Nats during his last big league stint in 2011, batting .224/.287/.276 through 91 games before announcing his retirement in the spring of 2012. Per Cafardo, he was also offered a player development gig with the club, but has not appeared in any kind of official role with them since his days as a major league infielder. While he’s been lauded for his leadership skills and strong clubhouse presence, he hasn’t acquired any managerial experience since his retirement, save for a handful of games with the Astros where he filled in for A.J. Hinch.
Despite the appeal of having a familiar face in the dugout, the Nationals aren’t the only ones eyeing Cora. The Astros’ coach has already interviewed with the Tigers, Mets and Red Sox this month. Boston appears to be the current favorite to land him and according to at least one source, may even announce his hiring in advance of the World Series next Tuesday.