ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The long-lost Kevin Youkilis made a reappearance before today's game, and proclaimed himself well and ready to play.
Of course, he's been saying that since April 9, when he first left a game with some "minor stiffness" in his lower back. But Youk did play in an extended-spring game on Saturday, and is slated to play in another on Monday. Beyond that, no one has a timetable for Youkilis' return to the Yankees lineup.
"I feel good, I feel healthy," Youkilis said. "Hopefully I can get out there as soon as possible, but it’s not in my control right now."
Joe Girardi said Youkilis might join Mark Teixeira, who is headed to a rehab assignment in Trenton on Wednesday.
-- David Phelps, who got hit with a line drive on his right forearm Friday night, threw "a light side session" this morning and continues to insist he will start as scheduled on Wednesday against the Mets at Yankee Stadium. "I think he's pretty good," Girardi said. "But we'll know better in a day or two."
-- Chris Stewart, who strained a groin muscle last week, was unexpectedly out of the lineup today because, Girardi said, "he's not quite out of the woods yet."
"He told me he still knows it's there," Girardi said. "So we have to be careful."
-- Andy Pettitte came out of yesterday's bullpen session feeling fine, and is scheduled to throw a 75-pitch simulated game in Tampa on Tuesday. If that goes well, Girardi said he would return to the team either next Sunday against the Red Sox at home, or, more likely, for Monday's game against Cleveland.
-- Girardi said he is "99 percent sure" Hiroki Kuroda, who was hit on the calf by a hot shot in his last start, will be good to go Tuesday night against the Mets and Matt Harvey at Citi Field. "But you never know," said the ever-cautious manager.