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Big League Stew

Yankees activate Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis, demote pitchers Ivan Nova and Vidal Nuno

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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Kevin Youkilis (left) and Mark Teixeira (right) meet the media during their rehab assignment. (AP)

Ahead of their weekend series with the rival Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees have activated some reinforcements from the disabled list. According to multiple reports, that includes all-star first baseman Mark Teixeira, who suffered a wrist injury this spring while preparing for World Baseball Classic competition, and corner infielder Kevin Youkilis, who frequently filled in for Teixeira at first before hitting the DL himself with an aggravating back ailment.

Both are back in a starting lineup — Youkilis hitting second and playing third, Teixeria hitting clean up and playing his customary first base — that finally needed a boost after dropping all four games in this week's Subway Series against the New York Mets.

Amazingly, the Yankees were doing much better than simply keeping their head above water while Teixeira, Youkilis, Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez and captain Derek Jeter missed game after game with varying injuries. In fact, they were sitting atop the division along with Boston at 12 games over .500 just prior to this week's slump. Though they're now two games back, they may be poised to build on that unexpected early success as forty-percent of their missing offense returns, at least from a physical standpoint. It's hard to say what they'll get in the productivity department short-term or long-term.

Of course the happiest Yankee out of all of this will be Robinson Cano, as he might finally have that true offensive threat behind him to provide protection. He had that for a short while when Granderson returned from his broken forearm, only to watch him hit the DL again with a broken hand. Not that Cano has struggled with his .296/.351/.545 line, along with 14 homers and 36 RBIs, but he'll be thrilled if Teixeira can stick around long than ten days.

In order to make room for their returning stars, New York sent out 26-year-old right-hander Ivan Nova and left-hander Vidal Nuno. Nova, who is two years removed from his breakout season where he won 16 games and posted a very solid 3.70, has fallen out of favor after struggling through the entire 2012 campaign and getting off to an equally ineffective start in 2013. Through four starts and two relief appearance, his ERA sits at 5.16.

Nova would still likely be New York's first choice should they need a starting pitcher soon. His demotion could also be quick if he returns to form, but that's all up to him and how he performs.

The 25-year-old Nuno had been much more effective over his three starts and two relief appearances this season. On Thursday, he held the Mets to two runs over six innings in a losing effort, but saw his ERA drop to 2.25. He probably deserved another look, but with Andy Pettitte due back next week and roster spots at a premium, he'll have to patiently await his next turn while staying sharp in Triple-A.

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