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Youkilis placed on DL

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Boston Red Sox placed third baseman Kevin Youkilis on the disabled list because of a back injury Thursday and called up catching prospect Ryan Lavarnway from Triple-A Pawtucket.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona announced the moves before the opener of a four-game series against the Kansas City Royals. The 24-year-old Lavarnway was scheduled to make his major league debut as the designated hitter, batting seventh in the Red Sox lineup.

Youkilis, who is hitting .266 with 17 homers and 78 RBIs, has missed several games recently because of what Francona called "a back strain or sprain." Youkilis remained in Boston after Wednesday night's game against Tampa Bay to be examined by doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital. He also received an injection for lower back pain.

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Nats not worried

WASHINGTON -- A day after Stephen Strasburg was hit hard in the minors, Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson insisted he wasn't worried about the young ace.

Strasburg lasted less than two innings Wednesday in a Class A start, his third rehabilitation outing since Tommy John surgery last September.

"Not at all. I've seen it many times -- Jim Palmer -- anybody -- going down and getting some work. I've seen him and other guys get rocked," Johnson said.

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