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Youkilis will miss rest of Classic

Youkilis will miss rest of Classic

MIAMI -- Another star player from Team USA is dealing with an ailment, and the mounting injuries are creating roster headaches.

Kevin Youkilis, who had a homer and two RBIs in a walk-off win over Puerto Rico on Tuesday night, will miss the rest of the World Baseball Classic because of a sore left ankle.

The Red Sox released the following statement on Wednesday during Team USA's game vs. Venezuela:

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"Kevin Youkilis returned to Fort Myers, Fla., this afternoon to be examined by the Red Sox medical staff. He was diagnosed with a mild left ankle sprain as well as mild Achilles tendinitis in his left foot. Both MRI results were negative. To limit movement and allow his ankle to heal, Youkilis will wear a walking boot for the next several days, but is not expected to miss significant time.

"Youkilis originally experienced some pain in his left ankle several days ago and it worsened in last night's game vs. Team Puerto Rico. He will no longer participate in the World Baseball Classic and will return to Red Sox camp tomorrow."

A vocal and inspirational leader on Team USA, Youkilis has been hobbled by the ankle a few days. According to United States manager Davey Johnson, the first baseman labored getting to the postgame interview room after the emotional victory.

"There's a good possibility that Youkilis may be off the roster," Johnson told reporters before Wednesday's game. "He played with kind of a sprained ankle the other night. I have a bad feeling."

Team USA qualified for the semifinals with its win over Puerto Rico. It is playing Venezuela on Wednesday night in a game that will decide seeding when the games head to Dodger Stadium.

In Youkilis' stead, Adam Dunn of the Nationals was in the lineup at first on Wednesday.

Team USA has some roster problems now, and it was thought that the Nationals didn't want Dunn to play first base since he's been playing right field in the tournament.

But word out of Nationals camp is that the team has no problem with Dunn playing first.

Because of the emergency situations, Dunn is playing a position at which he's appeared in just 127 games during his Major League career.

Another option is Mark DeRosa, who has played third base, second base and outfield in the Classic.

DeRosa has played first, but the Cleveland Indians have expressed to Team USA that they want him playing on the left side of the infield as much as possible.

After Wednesday, Team USA will be able to revise its roster. However, it can only replace a player with someone on its provisional roster. The only first baseman left is Derrek Lee. But the Cubs first baseman has been hampered by a sore right quad, and it is highly doubtful he will be available.

Youkilis appeared in six games in the Classic, and he has three homers and six RBIs. He is the second player on the Red Sox to leave Team USA in Miami because of an injury. On Saturday, second baseman Dustin Pedroia was placed on the injured list with a strained left oblique.

Also this week, Chipper Jones (right strained oblique) and reliever Matt Lindstrom (right rotator cuff strain) suffered injuries.

Pedroia was replaced at second base by Brian Roberts.

Team USA can fill in for Jones, Youkilis and Lindstrom.

Rays third baseman Evan Longoria is on the provisional roster, but finding first-base help is a higher priority.

Ryan Braun has been dealing with a right rib issue, but the Brewers outfielder still may play in Los Angeles.

USA Baseball executive director Paul Seiler noted that because Team USA will appear in two games in Los Angeles that it is less likely it will add a pitcher.

Seiler added that Team USA is in constant contact with clubs over the health status of their players.

"We have those conversation every day," Seiler said. "Just because he's with us, [it] doesn't give us carte blanche to do what we want with them."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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