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.

Tim Tebow homered in his first at-bat with Single-A St. Lucie

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Mets minor league outfielder and former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow was recently promoted from Single-A Columbia to advanced Single-A St. Lucie. Critics suggested that, because Tebow wasn’t exactly lighting up competition with Columbia, the promotion was just about marketing.

Tebow, to his credit, has gotten off to a good start with St. Lucie. In his first at-bat with his new team, he hit a two-run home run, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead. The home run came on a 3-1 count against starter Junior Fernandez of the Palm Beach Cardinals. Fernandez is the Cardinals’ No. 10 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

With Columbia, Tebow was hitting a paltry .220/.311/.336 with three home runs and 23 RBI in 244 plate appearances.

Cardinals option Aledmys Diaz to Triple-A

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The Cardinals announced on Wednesday that shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been optioned to Triple-A Memphis and infielder Alex Mejia’s contract has been purchased from Memphis.

Diaz, 26, impressed last season when he posted an .879 OPS and finished fifth in National League Rookie of the Year balloting. This year has been rough on Diaz, as he’s batting .260/.293/.396 with seven home runs and 20 RBI in 288 plate appearances. He’s the second major Cardinals player to get sent down to the minors along with Randal Grichuk.

Diaz was surprised by the demotion. Via MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch:

Mejia, 26, opened the season with Double-A Springfield but was promoted to Triple-A two weeks ago. With Springfield, he hit .251/.305/.366 in 251 PA. In 42 PA with Memphis, he hit .263/.333/.289.