ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Red Sox Manager Terry Francona says infielder Kevin Youkilis has returned to Boston to be examined by team doctors and undergo an MRI exam.

Youkilis was out of the starting lineup Friday for the start of a three-game series against Tampa Bay because of a hip injury.

“He was really limping the last couple days,” Francona said. “The hip has started to bother him a little bit. Try to figure out what, where, why, so he hasn’t have to limp the last couple weeks because we need him.”

Pitcher Clay Buchholz, out with a lower back injury, threw at 120 feet. A schedule for when Buchholz could throw off a bullpen mound may be determined this weekend.

Right-hander Josh Beckett, who sprained his right ankle earlier this week, is also throwing and making progress. Left-hander Erik Bedard was examined in Boston and has a strained lat muscle, which probably happened after compensating for a sore knee.

GIANTS: Lefty reliever Jeremy Affeldt is done for the season after sustaining a deep cut in his right hand while using a knife to separate frozen burger patties during Thursday’s off day.

He needed surgery and suffered nerve damage in his pinkie.

Injured lefty Barry Zito, meanwhile, could be activated from the disabled list soon, Manager Bruce Bochy said. Zito has been sidelined with a recurring foot and ankle injury.

NATIONALS: Stephen Stras-burg will pitch at least three more times this season.

Washington Manager Davey Johnson says he’ll vary Strasburg’s rest between four and five days. Strasburg recently turned to the major leagues after being sidelined by Tommy John surgery.

RANGERS: Reigning AL MVP Josh Hamilton was scratched from the Texas lineup to be with his wife for the birth of their fourth daughter.

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