Youkilis returns, reclaims spot at cleanup

Youkilis returns, reclaims spot at cleanup

Youkilis returns, reclaims spot at cleanup
SEATTLE -- Manager Terry Francona didn't have much to say prior to Boston's final tilt of the six-game road swing, but he did make some changes in the lineup with the return of third baseman Kevin Youkilis.

After missing the last two games with a sore back, Youkilis was back in the lineup on Sunday against the Mariners, batting fourth and playing third base.

Youkilis, who wouldn't say much about his back other than the fact that it was feeling better, is 1-for-12 in his past three games. Mike Aviles started in place of Youkilis on both Friday and Saturday, going a combined 3-for-6.

Youkilis' return resulted in some lineup shuffling. Dustin Pedroia moved back into the two-hole after hitting in cleanup for the past two days. He has hit safely in 47 of his last 52 games.

The bottom of the lineup got a makeover as well. On Saturday, Aviles, Jason Varitek and Marco Scutaro rounded out the bottom of the lineup. But Sunday, Carl Crawford moved down to the seventh slot after hitting second on Saturday, while catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia batted eighth and Darnell McDonald got the start in right field, batting ninth.