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Brian Cashman says it was a 'mistake' to play Kevin Youkilis

Kevin Youkilis reacts after striking out to end

Kevin Youkilis reacts after striking out to end the seventh inning with two men on base Opening Day against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. (April 1 2013) Credit: Jim McIsaac

It was, Brian Cashman said, a "mistake'' by everyone involved.

Kevin Youkilis missed six straight games last week with tightness in his lower back before saying he was fine to play Saturday against the Blue Jays.

A day later, his back wasn't better and might have been worse.

An MRI followed Monday and Tuesday came the announcement of a trip to the 15-day disabled list with what the Yankees called a lumbar spine sprain.

Infielder Corban Joseph was called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

"You can't turn it back, but if you're asking me if you do it all over again, would you do it differently, the answer, of course, is yes,'' general manager Cashman said before Tuesday night's game. Part of the mistake, Cashman said, was had the Yankees not played Youkilis on Saturday, his DL stint could have been backdated to April 20, instead of April 27.

But the reality is that the third baseman's back wasn't showing signs of improving and isn't now.

Youkilis received an epidural shot Tuesday morning and did not report to the Stadium. With Youkilis serving DL stints in 2011 and 2012 with back injuries, Cashman gave the only answer he could when asked if the 34-year-old would be ready at the end of the 15 days.

"That's my hope,'' Cashman said, "but I don't know.''

The injury makes Jayson Nix the full-time third baseman and leaves the Yankees, in Cashman's words, with "no one that's legitimate'' as a backup on the left side of the infield.

Joseph is primarily a second baseman, whom the Yankees hope can provide depth at third, short and second, though the 24-year-old struggled in spring training in the handful of games he started at the hot corner.

Asked if he was comfortable with his infield options on the roster, the GM shrugged: "Got no choice.''

Grandy update

Joe Girardi didn't rule out Curtis Granderson -- who has been out since breaking his right forearm Feb. 24 -- from being ready for rehab games within the week.

Rain Tuesday morning wiped out the work the outfielder was to do at the minor- league complex in Tampa, relegating Granderson to taking BP indoors and playing catch.

"He's getting closer,'' Girardi said.

Once Granderson appears in a rehab game, that would put him on pace, Girardi hopes, to be back with the team within three weeks.

About Mark Teixeira, who is out with a wrist injury and hasn't progressed beyond taking dry swings with a fungo bat, Girardi said: "He hasn't even started to take batting practice or hit off a tee yet. So to me that [three weeks] would be pretty rushed.''

Return of Musty

Ronnier Mustelier, 28, from Cuba, who became a fan favorite during the spring, has been assigned to Class A Tampa. Mustelier, a utility man who played mostly at third in camp, had been out since late March with a bone bruise in his right knee.

New York Sports