BOSTON -- Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis is eager to return to Boston's starting lineup as he continues to make improvements in his ailing back. But he knows he is not the one setting the time table.
"Like I said, you'd have to ask the training staff and all that," Youkilis said. "I'm just following orders and doing what they tell me to do. You know me -- I think I can go play right now. That's my opinion, and that's how I always am. I'm just going to wait and whatever they tell me to do, I'm going to do it."
Youkilis is eligible to return on Monday. However, he hasn't resumed baseball activities, so that might be a stretch.
"They haven't given me that so I'm basically following their orders and the past couple of days I've felt great and have been moving around and doing what they tell me to do." Youkilis said. "And hopefully soon I can do baseball activities, because I'm pretty excited to get back and playing."
And if you think Youkilis is nervous because the man filling in for him, Will Middlebrooks, is tearing the cover off the ball, you couldn't be more wrong.
Youkilis was leading the cheers from his living room when Middlebrooks had a monster game against the Royals on Monday night.
"It's awesome," Youkilis said. "I was watching the game. I was joking that they should put the foul pole in center field so he can hit it off that, too. It was pretty amazing to watch him. It's great for him to come up here at this stage and perform at a high level."