Kevin Youkilis will sit out Sunday with tight back

Kevin Youkilis of the Yankees tries to throw

Kevin Youkilis of the Yankees tries to throw out Brett Lawrie, not pictured, of the Toronto Blue Jays, who beat out the ground ball for a single in the second inning. (April 19, 2013) (Credit: Getty Images)

TORONTO -- Before Saturday's game, Joe Girardi said the Yankees' current stretch of 16 straight games, including six consecutive on turf, would necessitate resting some players.

Kevin Youkilis hastened the process.

The veteran, who has a history of back issues, was removed from Saturday's game in the bottom of the sixth inning with tightness in his lower back.

Both Youkilis and Girardi downplayed the injury, though the manager did say Youkilis will not play Sunday.

"I'm good,'' said Youkilis, who started at first and was replaced by Lyle Overbay. "Yesterday it was a little bit tight and today before the game I knew it was a little tight, and it just got to the point where I didn't want to make it any worse being on this turf. Should be good. Got treatment and it loosened up a little bit. For me, I feel good and ready to go.''

To this point, no one believes the problem is as serious as the back strain that landed Youkilis on the DL early last season. A back strain also sent him to the disabled list in 2011.

"For me personally, I know I'll be fine,'' Youkilis said. "It'll be a good thing [sitting Sunday].''

Knuckling under

Youkilis ripped a stinging liner in the fifth that, off the bat, he thought Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie would catch. But the ball somehow avoided Lawrie's glove -- he was fortunate not to get hit in the face -- and landed in leftfield for a two-run single and a 3-0 Yankees lead.

"I was ready to go run to the dugout and break my helmet if they caught another ball like that,'' Youkilis said. "He said it knuckled. It's not easy sometimes. I got one yesterday that almost took my head off. It happens a lot at third.''

Hot hand

Francisco Cervelli started his seventh straight game, and Girardi said it had more to do with maintaining certain battery combinations than the catcher's hot start. Cervelli, who singled in the Yankees' two-run 11th, is hitting .310. "Just kind of keeping everyone with the same guys,'' Girardi said.

Girardi said Chris Stewart, who has appeared in only five games, will catch Ivan Nova Sunday.

Andy OK

Andy Pettitte experienced no lingering issues a day after pitching a strong 71/3 innings Friday night. He had been scratched from last Sunday's start with back spasms.

"He feels great today,'' Girardi said. "Normal soreness, so everything's OK.''

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