Youkilis is latest starter to return to Red Sox lineup

ARLINGTON, Texas -- First baseman Kevin Youkilis was back in Boston's lineup against the Texas Rangers on Saturday night, rejoining the Red Sox earlier in the day after missing the series opener to attend to a family matter.

Youkilis was in the lineup for only the second time in seven games. He missed two games with the flu and two others with back spasms. The extra day at home allowed him to get treatment on his back in Boston.

"Maybe missing [Friday] ends up being good for his back," manager Terry Francona said. "Maybe there was something good to come out of the personal stuff."

Youkilis said the back spasms could have stemmed from dehydration due to the flu.

"I've been feeling a lot better the last few days," Youkilis said. "Being dehydrated, being in bed, the doctor said that [back spasms] happens a lot."

The return of Youkilis came a day after third baseman Mike Lowell and ace pitcher Josh Beckett were activated from the disabled list.

Outfielder J.D. Drew, out since Aug. 18 with a strained lower back, took flyballs and batting practice for the second straight day Saturday.

"He's progressing, but he's not ready yet," Francona said. "Right now there's no timetable."

Right-hander David Aardsma, out since Aug. 21 with s strained right groin, threw to hitters before the game. Francona said Aardsma was pain-free and will make a minor league rehab appearance for Class-A Lowell in the New York-Penn League playoffs Monday or Tuesday.

"I'm not going to jump right into midseason form by no means," Aardsma said. "But if we get to the playoffs I should be strong."