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Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Red Sox activate Kevin Youkilis

By Gordon Edes
ESPNBoston.com

BALTIMORE -- The Boston Red Sox placed outfielder Cody Ross on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a broken bone in his left foot and put outfielder Ryan Sweeney on the seven-day DL for players suffering from concussion symptoms.

The team also activated Kevin Youkilis (back strain) from the DL and added recently acquired outfielder Scott Podsednik to the roster before Tuesday's game with the Baltimore Orioles.

The Red Sox said a second opinion confirmed the finding of a displaced fracture of the navicular bone in his Ross' foot.

His place on the roster was taken by the 36-year-old Podsednik, a star of the 2005 World Series for the Chicago White Sox who had been acquired 11 days ago from the Philadelphia Phillies in a minor league deal.

Podsednik, who hit .323 (10-for-31) in nine games with Triple-A Pawtucket with a .371 on-base percentage and .855 OPS, last played in the big leagues with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Kansas City Royals in 2010.

The Ross move was expected, though manager Bobby Valentine earlier Tuesday said Ross told the club he was "feeling really good," leading to some hope that the crack in the bone shown by the MRI taken Monday had detected an old injury.

But Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said that a second opinion rendered by Dr. Lew C. Schon, director of foot and ankle services at Baltimore's Union Memorial Hospital, confirmed the diagnosis made by the Red Sox medical staff of a displaced fracture occurring when Ross fouled a ball off his foot Friday night in Philadelphia.

"There was a reason for optimism today just because Cody felt better, and has felt better each day. That's a good sign," Cherington said. "It makes us hopeful that his recovery will be smooth and on the short end of the time frame. Got to let it heal."

Sweeney was placed on the special seven-day disabled list Major League Baseball has created for players with concussions or concussive symptoms. He cannot be activated until he passes the tests administered by MLB. Youkilis missed 22 games with a lower back strain.

To create a spot on the 40-man roster spot for Podsednik, the Red Sox placed pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka on the 60-day disabled list, which makes him ineligible to come off for 60 days from Opening Day.

With the additions of Ross and Sweeney, the Red Sox have seven outfielders on the DL, and have disabled 16 players so far this season, with a combined total of 450 games missed entering Tuesday night's game.

Cherington said the team cannot make an accurate determination of how long Ross will be out until after he comes out of the protective left boot he has been placed in. The typical estimate for such an injury is six to eight weeks.

Ross will remain in the boot for "at least a few days," Cherington said.

Youkilis's return led to another lineup shuffle. He will play first base, a position he played regularly for 4½ seasons, the last time in 2010, when the Red Sox had Adrian Beltre at third. Youkilis became the full-time third baseman last season after Boston traded for Adrian Gonzalez.

Youkilis was batting fifth behind Gonzalez, who moved to right field. Rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who had been batting fifth, dropped a spot to sixth.

"I think I'm capable of playing every day," said Youkilis, adding that a shift back to first base was not an issue. "I feel real good, ready to go out there and play a game today. I feel good. We'll see tomorrow.

"There's not a story here. Just go out and play."

Podsednik began the game on the bench, with Marlon Byrd in center flanked by Daniel Nava in left and Gonzalez in right. Of the 852 games started by Podsednik in the course of a 10-year big-league career, only 11 came in right field. Byrd has played right field, however, which means he could slide over if Podsednik entered as a defensive replacement.

Both Valentine and Cherington indicated that they would prefer to limit Gonzalez's playing time in the outfield, but for now it's the optimal way of getting both Middlebrooks and Youkilis in the lineup. Gonzalez has played the outfield in winter leagues and made three good catches over the weekend in Philadelphia, but his lack of speed is problematic.

"Even in a small outfield, we'll have to appraise the situation a little more as we see it," Valentine said. "I would say that probably less is better than more.

"I don't think he'll mess up anything, but there may be a few he doesn't get to. If it comes to the point that outs were given away, we'll probably scratch the idea. If it's obvious a ball should be caught and it's not caught, we'll have a different appraisal."

Gonzalez said this weekend that he was willing to play wherever asked and dismissed the risk of injury playing the outfield, saying a chance of injury was dependent more on instincts than familiarity with a position, and that his instincts were sufficient to play the outfield.

"I think Bobby has a good feel for Adrian playing the outfield position," Cherington said. "It's not going to be an everyday thing, probably not a long-term thing. ''

Cherington said there has been no discussion of having Middlebrooks take fly balls in the outfield. Middlebrooks has been exclusively a third baseman since being converted from shortstop in his first extended spring training.

One additional Red Sox health note: Pitcher Aaron Cook, who was set to be sent out for a rehab assignment, has not fully healed from the spike wound to the knee he incurred May 5 that required 11 stitches. The stitches have been taken out, but until the knee fully heals Cook will be kept from pitching.