Pregame notes: No Youk today

SEATTLE -- Kevin Youkilis had to slide into first to beat Raul Ibanez to the bag in the second inning of yesterday's game, and afterward was seen in the clubhouse with a large icebag wrapped around his troublesome lower back.

And today, he is out of the lineup.

But no, both he and Joe Girardi insist, it is not because of a flareup of the lower back strain that landed him on the DL for the entire month of May.

"He's played five days in a row and he's coming off a back injury,'' Girardi said. "He's a little stiff, just normal stiffness today so I just thought I'd give him a day.''

Youkilis also said his back was fine and he would be available if needed today as a pinch-hitter.

He also had a plan for the next time a similar play comes up: "I think now I'll just maybe dive head-first more, and make it look extra special.''

To which Girardi said, "Please don't. Maybe he should just run straight through the bag.''


Derek Jeter will see ankle specialist Dr. Robert Anderson this week in Charlotte, N.C -- Girardi wasn't sure if it was to be Wednesday or Thursday -- and if he's cleared, will resume baseball activities down in Tampa by the end of the week.

Eduardo Nunez, on the DL since May 6 with an oblique strain, has resumed doing "rotational exercises'' but is still seemingly far from coming back.

Michael Pineda made his first rehab start for the Class A Tampa Yankees today and worked 4 1/3 innings, throwing 68 pitches, and allowed just two hits, one of them a bunt single. He also struck out four and walked one. No info on his radar gun readings but this begins his 30-day rehab period. By July 9, he will either be promoted to the Yankees or assigned to one of their minor-league clubs.

• King Felix Hernandez, the Mariners starter for today's series finale, is 8-5 with a 2.99 ERA and four complete games lifetime against the Yankees. Over his last 11 starts vs. the Yankees, he is 7-2 with a 2.14. However, the slumping Robby Cano hits him well -- 16-for-43 (.372) with two HRs -- and Mark Teixeira has five HRs off him in 61 at-bats.