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Balky back keeping Youk on the bench

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NEW YORK -- Kevin Youkilis tried to take swings in the batting cage at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, but his sore lower back is still not game-ready, manager Joe Girardi said.

"It's just stiff," Girardi said. "He's not rotating the way he wants to rotate, which is kind of important for a hitter. He's just not ready to go."

Youkilis has not been able to play since Saturday, in Toronto, because of the soreness, which he said is similar to the back issues he had previously.

"I think it's just something that creeps up," Girardi said. "People that have some back issues, it can happen after a day off. A lot of times, there's no rhyme or reason."

Girardi does not know of any tests scheduled for Youkilis, and although the Yankees are not yet planning to place Youkilis on the disabled list, that could change if he is not ready to play before the Yankees face left-hander J.A. Happ on Saturday.

"We're facing another lefty on Saturday. I'd definitely like to have him back by then," Girardi said. "I guess if something was to happen, you might think about [the disabled list], but we believe that he's going to be back within 15 days."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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