On-Base Perception

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Kevin Youkilis' rehab progressing, but he has yet to swing

Kevin Youkilis of the Yankees reacts after being

Kevin Youkilis of the Yankees reacts after being tagged out while in a rundown in the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles. (April 12, 2013) (Credit: Mike Stobe)

Third base coach Rob Thomson walked through the Yankees clubhouse before the game placing printouts of Thursday’s lineup at each player’s chair.

Injured third baseman Kevin Youkilis was holding a different piece of paper: a chart describing isometric trunk stabilization exercises.

Youkilis, who hasn’t played since June 13 and required surgery for a herniated disc in his back, said most of his rehab thus far has consisted of strengthening exercises.

Youkilis was hitting .279 with a .353 on-base percentage and two home runs on April 20 when the back issue first sidelined him. He returned for one game a week later and then for 10 games at the beginning of June. He went 6-for-41 (.146) during those 11 games before going back on the disabled list and, eventually, the operating room.

The latest news has so far been good.

“There hasn’t been any major setback,” he said.

Sure there’s still some pain, but as any back surgery patient can tell you, that’s to be expected.

“I get soreness, but it’s all part of it,” Youkilis said.

Youkilis has yet to take swings – dry, in the water or otherwise – but is still hopeful of a return this season.

“I hope,” he said. “I’m hoping for sure. If I had a magic ball that said, ‘Hey, I’ll be here on a certain day, then I wish it could be September 1st.”

Youkilis said he is likely to stay in New York when he resumes light baseball activities and then proceed to Tampa when he’s ready to ramp up the rehab. But the Florida portion of his rehab could be the tricky part.

“I just gotta really watch what I do, ‘cause I’m not really bright with a lot of it,” Youkilis said. “I ramp up things a little too quick sometimes. I need somebody to pull the reins back on me a lot of times.”

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