Red Sox notebook

Youkilis set for rehab Tuesday

He’ll join PawSox for two-day stint

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / August 27, 2011

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His teammates took their time arriving at Fenway Park yesterday, most having crawled into bed at sunrise following an overnight flight from Texas. But Kevin Youkilis was at the park early with a full agenda.

The third baseman, who is on the disabled list with a strained lower back, took batting practice in the cage and then hit the field for defensive drills.

Youkilis is set to join Triple A Pawtucket in Rochester, N.Y., on Tuesday for a two-day rehabilitation assignment.

“He’s doing really well,’’ manager Terry Francona said. “He’s been making progress. He’s doing fine.’’

Based on how quickly he was able to dodge a reporter trying to ask him questions, Youkilis certainly has regained his agility.

“I’ve been hitting for two days,’’ he said as he headed for the field. “Everything feels good. I’m getting there.’’

Youkilis is eligible to return Friday. He is hitting .266 with 17 homers and 78 RBIs. The Sox have been primarily using Jed Lowrie at third base in his absence and hitting Dustin Pedroia cleanup.

Atchison in action The Red Sox called up righthanded reliever Scott Atchison from Pawtucket and optioned Ryan Lavarnway to the minors.

Atchison pitched three innings and allowed one run in a 15-5 loss against Oakland, throwing 59 pitches.

Francona had no transaction to announce after the game but did speak to Atchison before he left the park. With a doubleheader today, the Red Sox could summon a fresh pitcher.

Lavarnway started six games as the DH when David Ortiz was recovering from a sore right foot. But once Ortiz showed he was healthy, Lavarnway became superfluous.

Lavarnway’s short stint was a success. He was 7 of 23 with two doubles, three RBIs, and four walks.

“He helped us win some games, that’s what we asked him to do,’’ Francona said. “It’s not an easy thing to do. But I think the experience was probably really good for him. He’ll be back as soon as we can get him back here. Spend September with us and hopefully learn some more.’’

Atchison believes Lavarnway has a bright future.

“Obviously, he can really hit. He carried the team for a while in Pawtucket,’’ Atchison said. “But he also improved a lot as a catcher. He did a good job of communicating with the pitchers and that’s where it has to start for a young catcher.

“I saw him get better in just a few weeks in terms of calling the game and handling the staff. He works hard at it.’’

Drew up and running J.D. Drew was 0 for 2 with a walk and was hit by a pitch for Single A Lowell last night, serving as the DH. He also scored a run. It was the first game of a rehab assignment for the right fielder, out since July 20 with a sore left shoulder.

Drew is scheduled to play for Lowell again tonight and take two days off before joining Pawtucket for games Tuesday and Wednesday. He would then be activated Thursday when the rosters expand.

Righthanded reliever Bobby Jenks is scheduled to start for Single A Salem tonight and pitch one inning. He has been out since July 8 with a strained back. Barring a setback, Jenks would then move up to Pawtucket for his next appearance.

The Sox are hoping that Jenks will rejoin them during the first week of September. He has been on the DL three times this season and has only 19 appearances.

Crawford rested Carl Crawford sat out the game, having cramped up a bit in the Texas heat Thursday night. The Sox are planning to have Crawford start both games today. “We’re trying to give as many guys some time off as we can. There’s only so much we can do,’’ Francona said. “I thought it would be a good day.’’ . . . Dustin Pedroia’s home run gave him 17 on the season, matching his career high set in his MVP season of 2008 . . . The Sox allowed eight doubles, the most since the Yankees had eight on Aug. 21, 2009 . . . Ortiz has hit safely in 10 straight games, batting .500 (19 of 38) with four home runs . . . Oakland revamped its bullpen after a 22-9 loss to the Yankees in New York on Thursday. Lefthanders Jerry Blevins and Josh Outman were recalled from Triple A Sacramento with righthander Bruce Billings and lefthander Jordan Norberto being sent down. Norberto threw 38 pitches on Thursday, Billings 57. The moves gave Oakland four lefthanders in its bullpen, Blevins and Outman joining Craig Breslow and Brian Fuentes. The A’s will make another move today when they call up righthander Graham Godfrey from Sacramento to start Game 2 of the doubleheader. Godfrey was 1-1 with a 4.24 ERA in three starts for Oakland in June. He was 13-3, 2.65 in Sacramento.

Peter Abraham can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.

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