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Youkilis holding onto hope of returning this season

NEW YORK -- Kevin Youkilis is making progress in his recovery from June back surgery. Nothing exciting right now, he said, but still progress.

Youkilis, who underwent surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back on June 20, has been doing trunk stabilization and core exercises with his physical therapist in New York for the past few weeks, but has yet to begin doing baseball activities.

"I've just got to keep hitting things, progressing, and every progression brings more excitement," Youkilis said. "Hopefully, in due time, I'll be able to do some baseball activities."

The first step toward resuming full baseball activities is swinging a bat, but Youkilis -- who batted .219 with two home runs and eight RBIs over 28 games this season -- still doesn't know when he'll be ready to do that. The third baseman hasn't had any setbacks or pain, but he still hasn't been cleared to swing.

When he is ready to resume baseball activities, Youkilis said he'd like start in New York before heading to Tampa to ramp up his recovery.

The original timetable for his recovery was 10 to 12 weeks from the surgery, which would place a potential return sometime in September. And even though he still hasn't been cleared to begin baseball activities, Youkilis still hopes to be able to play again this season.

"I'm hoping, for sure. If I had a magic ball that said I could be here on a certain day, I'd say it would be Sept. 1," Youkilis said. "For now, I really got to watch what I'm doing. I'm not really bright with a lot of the -- I ramp up things too quick sometimes. I need someone to pull the reins back."

Josh Vitale is an associate reporter for
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