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Kevin Youkilis batting cleanup in return from back injury

Chone Figgins, Kevin Youkilis

Boston Red Sox’s Kevin Youkilis, center, rounds third base on his two-run home run as Seattle Mariners’ Chone Figgins, left, looks on in the first inning of a baseball game in Boston, Sunday, July 24, 2011. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)


UPDATE: Youkilis is back in the Red Sox’s lineup and batting cleanup tonight.

J.D. Drew isn’t ready to return from the disabled list yet, but Kevin Youkilis is expected to come off the shelf and rejoin the Red Sox’s lineup for tonight’s game against the Rangers.

Youkilis has been out since August 18 with a strained lower back, but went 2-for-8 with a homer during a brief rehab assignment at Triple-A, deeming himself “good to go” and “as good as I can be for September.”

Youkilis was in a prolonged slump before being shut down, hitting just .181 in his last 20 games, although he did have four homers and 10 walks during that time. Jed Lowrie has started 14 of 16 games at third base in Youkilis’ absence, with Mike Aviles drawing the other two starts.

If nothing else his return should help the Red Sox games drag on even longer.