Kevin Youkilis misses fifth straight game with back injury

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Kevin Youkilis missed his fifth straight game yesterday with a back injury that was initially only expected to cost him a day or two.

Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports that Youkilis tried to take batting practice before last night’s game, but his lower back was too stiff. Yankees manager Joe Girardi told Hoch that Youkilis could be placed on the disabled list if he’s not ready to play Saturday, but added that “we believe that he’s going to be back within 15 days.”

Youkilis was off to a good start before the back problems flared up, hitting .279 with a .796 OPS in 16 games, but he had an uncharacteristically bad 17/3 K/BB ratio. Youkilis has missed at least 40 games in each the past three seasons and hasn’t played more than 140 games since 2008.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.