Kevin Youkilis returns to Yankees’ lineup after missing six games with back injury

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Kevin Youkilis is back in the Yankees’ lineup this afternoon for the first time in a week, reports Dan Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal.

Youkilis missed his sixth straight game yesterday due to lower back tightness, which led to a potential stint on the disabled list, but he was cleared to return after he made it through batting practice this afternoon without incident. He’s starting at first base this afternoon against the Blue Jays while Jayson Nix is playing third.

Youkilis is hitting .259 (17-for-61) with two homers, seven RBI and a .796 OPS through 16 games this season. Due to a wide variety of injuries, the 34-year-old has averaged just 120 games played over the past four seasons.

Twins designate Phil Hughes for assignment

AP Photo/Ron Schwane
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Phil Hughes was officially designated for assignment by the Twins on Tuesday, the culmination of multiple injury-plagued seasons and poor performance.

Things couldn’t have started out much better for Hughes in Minnesota. The former Yankees hurler joined the Twins on a three-year, $24 million contract in December of 2013 and reeled off a 3.52 ERA over 32 starts during his first season with the club. He set the MLB record (which still stands, by the way) for single season strikeout-to-walk ratio and even received some downballot Cy Young Award consideration. The big year resulted in the two sides ripping up their previous agreement with a new five-year, $58 million deal, but it was all downhill after that.

Hughes took a step back with a 4.40 ERA in 2015 and struggled with a 5.95 ERA over 11 starts and one relief appearance in 2016 before undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. He wasn’t any better upon his return last year, putting up a 5.87 ERA in nine starts and five relief appearances. Hughes missed time with a biceps issue and required a thoracic outlet revision surgery in August. He began this year on the disabled list with an oblique injury, only to put up a 6.75 ERA over two starts and five relief appearances before the Twins decided to turn the page this week.

Hughes is still owed the remainder of his $13.2 million salary for this year and another $13.2 million next year. The deal didn’t work out as anyone would have hoped, but unfortunately this is another case of health just not cooperating.