Pregame notes: Lavarnway gets the call

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The already banged-up Boston Red Sox got officially more banged up on Thursday.

The Sox placed Kevin Youkilis on the 15-day disabled list with a sore back, while also calling up highly regarded catching prospect Ryan Lavarnway from Triple-A to fill Youkilis’ spot.

“His body was so beat up anyway,” manager Terry Francona said. “I think this was the last straw and just kind of put him over the edge. Hopefully we can get him back and get him back to feeling like he can be Youkilis. After the game yesterday, it was kind of becoming obvious to everybody that he needed to get checked.”

Youkilis missed a handful of games in recent weeks because of the injury and labored with it in Wednesday’s game. He remained in Boston to receive treatment.

Francona inserted Lavarnway, 24, into the seventh spot as the DH on Thursday.

“That’s probably what he’ll be doing,” Francona said. “We have catching, but we can hopefully use his bat.”

Lavarnway is hitting .293 with 30 home runs in 110 games between the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs and Triple-A PawSox. He’s hitting .301 with 16 homers in 55 games with Pawtucket, but he’s just 5-for-44 in August with three home runs.

He received word of his promotion early Thursday morning.

“It was pretty bad on the plane. I had some knots in my stomach,” Lavarnway said. “But now that I’m here it’s just kind of back to business.”

Youkilis had just three hits in 21 at-bats during his last six games, and the Red Sox have scored more than four runs only twice in their last 10 games.

Youkilis only adds to a list of bruised and aching players. DH David Ortiz is currently out with bursitis in his heel but expects to return to the lineup during this eight-game road trip. He was walking in a boot through the clubhouse on Thursday.

Adrian Gonzalez is dealing with a stiff neck, although he has missed only two games with the injury.

Even still, Lavarnway wasn’t waiting on a call-up.

“I definitely wasn’t expecting it, especially this early,” Lavarnway said. “Like I said, I tried to keep my head out of the roster up here and come with an open mind.”

Francona also indicated that Marco Scutaro, who is out with a stiff back, is getting closer to returning. He hasn’t played since Aug. 13.

Mike Aviles was at shortstop on Thursday, while Jed Lowrie played third.

Miller returns to rotation: Andrew Miller will return to the starting rotation for the Red Sox on Friday for the first time in two weeks. He’ll also be returning to Kauffman Stadium, where he has had two opposite experiences in his only two appearances.

In 2006, Miller recorded the final out to clinch the Detroit Tigers' first playoff berth since 1987.

In his only other appearance in Kansas City, a start in 2007, Miller recorded only two outs and gave up five hits and five runs in a loss. He’s 4-1 with a 5.40 ERA this season with the Red Sox.