They come back for a bit, then they're gone again. So it goes for the New York Yankees and many of their ailing stars this season.
Kevin Youkilis needs back surgery and Mark Teixeira returned to the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with inflammation in his right wrist, the latest injury setbacks for the depleted Yankees.
And while the team hopes to have Teixeira back early next month, Youkilis will miss at least 10 to 12 weeks. The corner infielder has a herniated disk and is scheduled for surgery Thursday in California.
"It doesn't look like he will be a player for us until late September," manager Joe Girardi said Tuesday.
Tuesday night's game between the Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers was postponed by rain. It will be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader Wednesday.
Youkilis signed a $12 million, one-year contract with New York as a free agent in December to fill in at third base for Alex Rodriguez, who is recovering from hip surgery. But the three-time All-Star has played in only 28 games and is batting .219 with two home runs and eight RBIs.
"It's not how you draw it up, there's no doubt about that," general manager Brian Cashman said. "He looked great in the spring. We had high hopes. He obviously did so much for Boston over the years and he's the type of player that if you could draw it up, that's the type of player we would want: a gamer with power and plate discipline."
Youkilis was sidelined from April 28 to May 30 with a lumbar spine sprain. He returned for a couple of weeks before complaining of discomfort again after an 18-inning loss in Oakland last Thursday.
He went back on the disabled list Friday and was examined in California by Dr. Robert Watkins, a noted back specialist.
"He had played four days in a row and I think it was something he had and it just manifested itself," Girardi said.
An MRI showed the herniated disk, and Watkins will perform the operation.
"At least Dr. Watkins found what was ailing him," Cashman said, adding the club plans to go with what it has on the roster until Rodriguez is ready to play third again.
That means rookie David Adams is likely to get an extended opportunity at the hot corner. Adams is batting .213 with two homers and seven RBIs.
"The timetable for Alex was after the All-Star break and hopefully that is still the case. We just need people to step up in the meantime," Girardi said.
Of course, the Yankees also are missing injured shortstop Derek Jeter and his backup, Eduardo Nunez, along with outfielder Curtis Granderson, catcher Francisco Cervelli and pitcher Michael Pineda.
Granderson returned from a broken right wrist in mid-May only to get hit by another pitch days later and land on the DL on May 25 with a broken knuckle on his left hand.
New York has used the disabled list 16 times already this season, one shy of last year's total.
Teixeira missed the first 53 games because of a torn sheath in his right wrist. Both he and Youkilis returned from their previous DL stints on May 31.
The switch-hitting first baseman got off to an encouraging start when he came back but has slumped to a .151 average with three home runs and 12 RBIs in 53 at-bats.
"I believe he was healthy when he came back. It could have been just the swings, the games, that got to him a little bit," Girardi said. "There's not really hesitation in my mind that makes me believe that he won't be back when the 15 days is up."
Hoping to work his way out of his slump, Teixeira said he tried taking a few extra swings Saturday off a tee, which he hadn't been doing because the wrist was sore. After that, he said his wrist didn't feel right during the game. He left the team during its West Coast trip, went back to New York and received a cortisone shot Sunday.
"The MRI showed what I thought it was going to show," Teixeira said. "I didn't think it was re-torn. Something was just injured. When you gradually just get sore, you know, OK, I've got some inflammation in there, I'll need some time off. I was pretty sure that's what it was."
Cashman said Monday that Teixeira probably would be sidelined at least a week, and he was leaning toward putting the slugger on the DL.
Teixeira said he feels pretty good swinging from the right side, but he wouldn't want to be solely a platoon player. Instead, he'll try to let the injury heal without surgery and stick to switch-hitting.
Looking back to his rehab stint with Double-A Trenton, Teixeira said he played 19 out of 20 days.
"That's probably just too much. If maybe once a week I take a day off, just to let it rest, if I can do that all year that's great. Obviously 19 out of 20 is too much. We learned that the hard way," he said.
"That first week I felt great," Teixeira added. "I probably overdid it a little bit. It's something I might have to manage all year. ... We tried it, now we have to take a step back."
In other moves, the Yankees recalled outfielder Zoilo Almonte and right-hander Adam Warren from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Right-hander Chris Bootcheck was designated for assignment.
NOTES: LHP Ian Clarkin and the Yankees agreed on a $1,650,100 signing bonus, pending the results of his physical. That's the slot value assigned to the overall No. 33 pick, where Clarkin was selected in this month's draft out of James Madison High School in San Diego. During the draft, MLB Network showed a video in which Clarkin said he "cannot stand" the Yankees. He apologized the next day, saying the remarks were taken out of context and meant to tease his mother, a Yankees fan.