Yankees’ Youkilis goes on DL with sprained back

NEW YORK — Kevin Youkilis joined Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson on the New York Yankees’ disabled list Tuesday because of a lumbar spine sprain.

Despite a history of back trouble, Youkilis was signed to fill in for Rodriguez after the All-Star third baseman had offseason hip surgery.

Youkilis got off to a solid start, also filling in at first base, but was injured April 20 at Toronto and missed six straight games with back stiffness before going 0 for 3 with a walk Saturday.

By playing last weekend, New York lost the chance to backdate the move to April 21 and could make it only retroactive to Sunday.

“Playing him Saturday was a mistake by everybody involved,” general manager Brian Cashman said.

The 34-year-old Youkilis was given an epidural injection Tuesday and told to stay home and rest. Cashman said Youkilis missed 23 days last season with a similar injury. Youkilis is hitting .266 with two homers and seven RBIs in 17 games.

Second baseman Robinson Cano is the only infield starter from among the regulars. Extremely limited in their options, the Yankees recalled infielder Corban Joseph from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre because he is on the 40-man roster.

The 24-year-old Joseph has no big league experience. He was taken by the Yankees in the fourth round of the 2008 amateur draft out of Franklin High School in Tennessee.

Joseph played mostly second base and some first in the minors this year. He had an unimpressive stint at third base during spring training.

Cashman would have preferred to call up David Adams, but he was released during spring training then re-signed, so he is ineligible to be called up until May 15.

Manager Joe Girardi said Joseph will need to be able to back up at first, second and third base.

“I’m going to give him a chance to play some, but he has to be kind of prepared to be ready to play three of the four positions,” Girardi said. “We’ve got a pretty good second baseman over there I’m probably not going to sit too many days.”

Jayson Nix will be the primary third baseman.

A-Rod has still not begun baseball activities. He’s running on a treadmill, and Girardi said he is getting stronger.

Granderson, out with a broken right forearm, is the closest to being ready to return to the active roster. He has been taking batting practice and could start rehabilitation games soon.

New York hopes Youkilis and Granderson could be back by mid-May, when the Yankees start a stretch with 12 games against AL East opponents in a 16-game span. The other four scheduled games are with the crosstown rival Mets.

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