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Spring Training Notebook: Youkilis Nearing Return for Boston

Kevin Youkilis, left, is nearly recovered from spraining his left ankle.
Kevin Youkilis, left, is nearly recovered from spraining his left ankle. (By Jeffrey M. Boan -- Associated Press)
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-- PHILLIES: Kyle Kendrick kept himself in the race for the final spot in the rotation. The right-hander pitched his best game of the spring, yielding two runs and five hits in five innings during a 2-1 loss to the Twins.

Philadelphia also received encouraging news about ace left-hander Cole Hamels, who threw off a mound for the first time since leaving camp last Tuesday with elbow tightness.

-- YANKEES: Right-hander Phil Hughes was one of four players optioned to the minors, despite posting a 2.19 ERA in four spring training appearances.

-- CUBS: Third baseman Corey Koskie, 35, has called off his comeback, two days after taking himself out of a game because he felt lightheaded. Koskie, who played in three games, had a concussion in 2006 while playing for the Brewers and has not appeared in the big leagues since.

-- BRAVES: Tom Glavine pitched three pain-free innings against his former team in his first start this spring, allowing two hits in a 12-1 win over the Mets. Glavine, who turns 43 on Wednesday, is coming off elbow surgery.

-- MARINERS: Mike Sweeney's chances of making the team keep improving. Sweeney, a non-roster invitee who is attempting a comeback after having surgery on both knees in June, is hitting .381 this spring. "I feel wonderful, my swing feels good," he said.

-- BOONE SURGERY SET: Third baseman Aaron Boone, 36, will have open heart surgery on Thursday at the Stanford University Medical Center. Physician D. Craig Miller will perform the procedure to correct a problem with Boone's aorta and aortic valve, and recovery is expected to take several months.

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