By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON The dog days of August are right around the corner, and that means some of the Sox regulars will be getting a little bit of rest over the next few weeks.
Kevin Youkilis tightened up his hamstring when his heal caught on the bag at first base during Monday nights 14-inning loss to the Kansas City Royals, and hes sitting out Tuesday nights second game of the four-game series.
Hes a little sore, said Francona.
Terry Francona was quick to point out that Youkilis probably would have had the night off from third base duties anyway, but the Sox skipper also opted to give red-hot centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury a night off against Kansas City southpaw Danny Duffy.
While its a little difficult benching a leadoff man smoking the ball at a .411 clip during the homestand, Ellsbury's had little rest during the recently sweltering hot days at the ballpark.
Francona decided it was time.
Ellsbury is fine. I just think in the next couple of days it would be give guys a couple of days and let Yamaico Navarro and Darnell McDonald get some at bats against lefties. Jacoby has played a lot, said Francona. I think he wanted to play which is great but I think a day off would do him some good.
Its not that big a deal. We talk to Jacoby. I said to him in the second inning that Im going to check with you after the game, and he didnt fight. Guys get tired sometimes and a little beat up, and a day off really does them some good. We know these guys well enough to try and not get in the way.
Instead .160-hitting McDonald will play centerfield and bat leadoff against the lefty pitcher and .185-hitting Navarro gets the start at third base for the Sox in a lineup that looked more Grapefruit League than mid-summer dream.
While theres been plenty of speculation about relief help coming to Boston and another starter potentially slotting in should Clay Buchholz continue to suffer through back woes, the bench would seem to be the logical place to benefit from a trade. The current group of right-handed hitting non-starters isn't even average.
One thing the Sox and Francona are unwilling to do, however, is give up young prospects in exchange for a spare part capable of minimal contributions over the final two months of regular season and the playoffs. With the July 31 trade deadline approaching, thats the stance voiced by the manager, and upheld by the rest of the front office staff.
I like our team. Ive been around here long enough to know that Theo is going to be on the phone doing his due diligence that way hes supposed to, said Francona. I dont need to sit up here and say what we need because my job is to get the most out of these guys. But I like them a lot.
I also know Theo is going to make them better if he can. I do feel pretty strongly that I like the young players in our system, so Im not voting or saying to go do this because I like our young guys too. I really like the idea of our young guys helping us.
J.D. Drew is officially on the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder impingement while infielder Drew Sutton has been recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket for another tour of duty with the Red Sox. Francona said that Navarro could potentially play left field if the Sox get desperate for another outfielder during the game, but he didnt see that becoming a pressing issue.
Buchholz was experiencing general soreness in his back the day after his 30-pitch bullpen session, and Francona said that the righty would be checking in with the two teams of medical staff before they begin quickening the pace of his rehab process.
We still view it as a very positive day yesterday. Hes going to revisit the medical people hes talked to and review where he thinks he is and where they think he is, Francona said. Well do it so that when we start moving fast and aggressive with things pretty quickly that hell feel good about it.
Itll be getting pretty aggressive from now on, so we just want to cover everything.
Nothing new with Bobby Jenks or Jed Lowrie over the last couple of days. Jenks isnt feeling any better and Lowrie is still working his troublesome shoulder toward taking batting practice.