NEW YORK -- The Yankees have been able to write Kevin Youkilis' name in the lineup just 28 times this year, but the rehabbing third baseman is hopeful that he will be able to return to the field at some point.
"You hope that you can get everything right," Youkilis said on Sunday. "The thing about the back is there's no timetable. The surgery that's done on it, it's different for everybody in different ways. Guys can come back."
Youkilis had surgery to correct a herniated disk on June 20. Dr. Robert Watkins performed the procedure, and Youkilis said that he was told by Watkins that the fastest he could return would be 12 weeks.
Having just hit the seven-week checkpoint, Youkilis said he would need to start dry swings of the bat between weeks eight and 10 to have a chance of playing again this season. He is continuing to rehab in New York after spending time in California immediately following the surgery.
"I hope I'd be one of the quickest," Youkilis said. "You've also got to know what your body is saying and doing. We hope that we can come back and play this year at some point, but you've also got to go through all the progressions first. That's what I'm doing, going off their evaluations."
The Yankees signed Youkilis to a one-year, $12 million contract in December, hoping he would hold down third base while Alex Rodriguez rehabbed from left hip surgery. Youkilis has batted .219 (23-for-105) with two homers and eight RBIs in a Yankees uniform.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. Josh Vitale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.