Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters, including Andy McCullough of the Star Ledger, that Kevin Youkilis will undergo back surgery for a herniated disc and miss 10-12 weeks (Twitter link). The best-case scenario for Youkilis, based on that timeline, would be a late August return, though the recovery could easily push into September.
Youkilis, 34, signed a one-year, $12MM deal with the Yankees this offseason. He hit a respectable .267/.347/.422 through April 27 before landing on the disabled list with a sprained back. Since returning on May 31, he's hitting just .146/.239/.220.
A strong rebound campaign with the Bombers could've positioned Youkilis to sign a multi-year free agent deal this coming winter. Now, however, a one-year deal seems likely given the lack of production and significant time on the disabled list. The injury-prone corner infielder hasn't appeared in more than 122 games since 2009.
Youkilis never cracked Tim Dierkes' free agent power rankings (and certainly won't now). He'll part of a first base class that is flooded with veterans this offseason in free agency, as Kendrys Morales, Michael Morse, Corey Hart, Mike Napoli, Paul Konerko, Justin Morneau and Mark Reynolds will all be on the market. If he can position himself as a third baseman, Youk's competition will be more scarce, but that could be a tough sell with the back injuries.