Back woes knock Youkilis back on DL
One of the drawbacks in this era when pitching revolves around the bullpen is that someone like Adam Warren gets shipped out after giving a terrific performance. Warren threw 85 pitches in his six-inning relief appearance Thursday in the 18-inning marathon at Oakland that the Yankees lost.
With a clutch hit in any one of five extra innings, Warren might have been the winning pitcher, but that didn’t happen and he was left to accept a pat on the back. But since Warren essentially pitched as long as a normal starter, he would not have been available for the three-game series at Anaheim that began Friday night.
Needing another long reliever for the Angels series, the Yankees recalled Chris Bootcheck, a 6-foot-5 righthander, and optioned Warren to the Triple A affiliate. Bootcheck, 34, a former first-round draft pick of the Angels who pitched in parts of five seasons for them (3-7, 6.04 ERA) and also part of one season for the Pirates (0-0, 11.05 ERA), was 5-2 with a 3.32 ERA in 11 starts for Scranton.
That was one of two transactions Friday by the Yankees, who also recalled outfielder Thomas Neal from Scranton as infielder Kevin Youkilis went back on the 15-day disabled list with a reoccurrence of lower back pain. Youkilis reported numbness in his right leg and foot the day after playing all 18 innings at Oakland. He will remain in the area after the series ends Sunday to be examined by Dr. Robert Watkins, a back surgeon based in Marina del Ray, Calif.
This will be the second DL stint due to back problems for Youkilis. He returned to action May 31 but had only six hits in 41 at-bats (.146) with one RBI in 11 games and was hitting .219 with two home runs and eight RBI for the season. Jayson Nix, who was at third base Friday night, and rookie David Adams will handle the position for the time being. Youkilis’ disabling is also why the Yankees were smart not to let go of Lyle Overbay, who is backing up Mark Teixeira at first base.
Instead of bringing up another infielder, the Yankees went for Neal, who was doing well at Scranton with a .339 batting average, 12 doubles, two home runs and 24 RBI, and who went into the lineup immediately in right field. Neal, 25, is a native Californian who grew up in Poway near San Diego and played at Riverside Junior College. He played briefly last year for the Indians and hit .217 in 23 at-bats and was released. The Yankees signed him as a free agent in the offseason.