Youkilis ready for first base, 'excited to play'

Youkilis ready for first base, 'excited to play'
May 22, 2012, 11:58 pm
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BALTIMORE -- A little more than three weeks after being placed on the DL with lower back soreness, Kevin Youkilis returned to the lineup Tuesday.

Instead of his familiar spot at third base, however, Youkilis was at first base, with Adrian Gonzalez shifting to right field and rookie Will Middlebrooks remaining, for now, at third base.

"I'm good . . . good to go," said Youkilis.

As for returning to first, Youkilis didn't believe that would be much of an issue.

"I played it for many years," he said. "I'm good to go. I'm excited to play. They asked me, 'Are you OK playing first base?' I played first base for five years in my career. It's not like they asked me to play center."

"He said first base would be no problem at all," said manager Bobby Valentine. "He was ready to do whatever it took to help the team."

Youkilis said he achieved his goal of "being healthy and able to play" while on a week-long rehab stint with Pawtucket.

"I swung the bat good," he said. "I was just trying to get back into the swing of things and I felt good (Monday), so, doing good."

While manager Bobby Valentine has said he'll check with Youkilis to determine how much he can play right away, Youkilis didn't feel he had any restrictions.

"I think I'm capable of playing every day," said Youkilis. "I'm just excited about tonight and hopefully, I can do something good for this team."

"I told him, 'Just let me know,'" said Valentine, "and we'll take it day-by-day."