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Red Sox Health Update: Youk DH’s, Bailey Cleared

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BOSTON, MA - JUNE 19: Kevin Youkillis #20 of the Boston Red Sox connects for a three-run home run against the Milwaukee Brewers at Fenway Park on June 19, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA – JUNE 19: Kevin Youkillis #20 of the Boston Red Sox connects for a three-run home run against the Milwaukee Brewers at Fenway Park on June 19, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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Boston Red Sox

BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Red Sox have dealt with injuries since before the season even began, but some good news is starting to roll in on their disabled listers.

Third baseman Kevin Youkilis, on the DL since May 2 with a back injury, went 1-for-2 for the Pawtucket Red Sox Wednesday night. He hit a double, scored a run, and walked against the Durham Bulls as the team’s designated hitter.

View: Red Sox Injuries

Youkilis was eligible to be activated on Monday.

The news is also good on closer Andrew Bailey, who hit the DL before the season started after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb in early April. He saw his surgeon in Cleveland on Tuesday, and was cleared to begin a throwing program at some point next week.

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“Boy, he’s been working,” Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said of Bailey. “He’s one of those guys I’m sure we’re going to have to hold him back and proceed in a conservative effort.”

Valentine said, however, the team will take a conservative approach with their closer.

Also on the DL since the start of the season, outfielder Carl Crawford has the “potential” to begin swinging a bat when the team returns to Boston next week. Crawford, who had offseason wrist surgery, injured his left elbow as he worked his way back.

But the news was not so good on Diasuke Matsuzaka, who had been on a torrid pace to return from Tommy John surgery. The Red Sox righty will make another rehab start for the PawSox on Thursday, and another on May 22, but Valentine does not think Dice-K will be ready for the big leagues when his 30-day rehab stint runs out next week.

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“Right now, I don’t think he’s all that close to pitching in the Major Leagues,” Valentine said Wednesday prior to Boston’s 2-1 loss in Tampa. “He might take a big step, [but] not until he’s ready. It’s not the calendar that’s going to dictate whether a guy pitches in the Major Leagues, I don’t think.”

The good news is it sounds like this “setback” is more mechanical than medical.

“There’s a lot of things that you do before you’re totally ready, and I’m not sure he’s put his elbow situation behind him yet,” Valentine added. “I don’t think he totally understands where he is with his elbow.”

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