Youkilis steps up activity, gets ready for rehab assignment

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Youkilis steps up activity, gets ready for rehab assignment

BOSTON -- Kevin Youkils stepped up his baseball activity Monday, fielding groundballs and making throws from third base before heavy rain arrived at Fenway Park.

However, it's unlikely that Youkilis, sidelined since the last weekend of April because of lower back soreness, will be activated before the weekend, even though he's eligible to come off the DL today.

"He looked pretty good taking ground balls today,'' said manager Bobby Valentine. "I wouldn't think he's very far away. He looked really good moving around."

The tentative plan calls for Youkilis to begin a brief rehab assignment with Pawtucket mid-week, playing a couple of games to get reacclimated to live pitching.

That would put the timetable for his return either this weekend in Philadelphia or early next week in Baltimore.

"I feel good,'' Youkilis said. "I'm trying to get back into the feel of baseball and all that. Once we do that, play a game or two here and there, then hopefully I'll get back to help.''

Youkilis was unsure when his rehab stint would begin.

"For me, I just do what they tell me,'' said Youkilis. "It's probably a good thing to go on a brief rehab after being out for so long. But I'm just following orders.''

"Whenever the medical staff and Kevin say he's ready,'' shrugged Valentine when asked about a timetable.

Report: Red Sox DH target Beltran agrees to 1-year deal with Astros

Report: Red Sox DH target Beltran agrees to 1-year deal with Astros

Carlos Beltran, the 39-year-old switch hitter who was a potential target of the Red Sox as a DH, agreed to a free-agent deal with the Houston Astros, ESPN's Buster Olney reported.

FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reports that it's a one-year, $16 million deal. 

Beltran played for the Astros in 2004. He was dealt from the New York Yankees to the Texas Rangers at the July 31 trading deadline last season. He totaled 35 homers, 101 RBI and hit .295 in 2016. 

The Red Sox, looking to fill the void left by David Ortiz's retirement, will be looking for a DH at the Winter Meetings that begin next week. One possibility is the return of Mike Napoli, who played for the A.L. champion Cleveland Indians last season.

More on the Winter Meetings here from CSN Red Sox Insider Sean McAdam.