Youkilis has not played since the 18-inning marathon in Oakland against the Athletics, as he woke up the following morning feeling numbness in his right leg. Whether manager Joe Girardi mishandled Youkilis in that situation will likely be a much-debated topic over the next few weeks, but the fact remains that the team will be without Youkilis for quite some time.
The surgery will all but ensure that Youkilis will be without any back issues when he's ready to return, but don't expect the Yankees to rush him back.
No matter how well he performs upon returning, his 2013 season with the Yankees will still be considered a disappointment. After signing a one-year, $12 million contract during the offseason, Youkilis has hit just two home runs and driven in just eight while hitting .219/.305/.343 in 105 at-bats.
Youkilis was expected to replace Alex Rodriguez at the hot corner while he nursed an injury of his own. Rodriguez could very well be on his way back at the same time Youkilis is ready to make his return, but Youkilis could still find time at first base if Mark Teixeira's injury ends up being worse than originally thought.
In Youkilis' stead, both David Adams and Reid Brignac will likely see time at third with Jayson Nix taking over full-time shortstop duties. Brignac is hitting just .100 over 40 at-bats, however, so Adams should be the favorite to start at the hot corner.
Adams has seen varying levels of success in his first career season in the bigs. He has two home runs and seven RBI, but his .213/.234/.333 line needs to improve. Luckily for him, he should have plenty of opportunities to do so.
Adams has always been a highly regarded prospect in the Yankees system and carries a big stick to go along with the team's expectations of him. It's unfair to call him the third baseman of the future with so little service time under his belt, but a strong showing the remainder of the season could put him in the discussion.
Having a healthy option at third base will be just what the Yankees need to jumpstart their stagnant offense and spark some life into the team. New York has been forced to infuse young stars into the roster because of injuries this season; it may end up working in their favor presently and for the future.
Adams' play over the next three or four months will have major implications on his role with the club moving forward.
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