By Evans Clinchy
May 03, 2012

The Boston Red Sox have placed third baseman Kevin Youkilis on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain and promoted promising youngster Will Middlebrooks to fill his roster spot, according to Ian Browne of MLB.com.

Youkilis' move to the DL is retroactive to Sunday, so he will be eligible to return on May 14. He's optimistic he'll be ready by that date.

"I've just had an irritated joint or whatever in the back that has been happening for a little bit of time now," Youkilis said. "Basically, what we've done is, the last couple of days have been bad, and we've tried to get through it, and we've made great strides from yesterday to today."

Youkilis has had a bad start in 2012, partly attributed to the groin injury he battled earlier this season. He's hitting .219 overall with two home runs and nine RBIs.

Middlebrooks, 23, is widely considered the top prospect in the Red Sox' system. He was hitting .333 with nine home runs and 27 RBIs at Triple-A Pawtucket.

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