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Arizona Diamondbacks

Updated Jun 1, 2012 - 9:14 am

Spark up the Youkilis to D-backs rumors again

Boston Red Sox's Kevin Youkilis reacts after striking out looking with two runners on base to end the first inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park in Boston, Thursday, May 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

One of the concerns for the Arizona Diamondbacks heading into the 2012 season was whether Ryan Roberts could duplicate his 2011 production.

In his first year as an everyday player, Roberts popped 19 homers, many of them of the clutch variety, drove in 65 runs and stole 18 bases while batting .249.

Arizona's front office decided not to look for reinforcements at the hot corner during the offseason, and that is one of the things that has backfired on the team through the first two months of the season.

Roberts has struggled (.226 average, .288 OBP) and has split time with Josh Bell, who was acquired from Baltimore in April. Bell hasn't produced in his limited role and the defense at the position has left something to be desired as well (a .932 combined fielding percentage -- the third-worst mark in the National League).

So, who's available? A few weeks ago, the rumors started circulating out of Boston that veteran Kevin Youkilis could be on the market, and CBS Sports' Danny Knobler has re-sparked that talk via Twitter.

Youkilis, who has battled a back injury this season, could help the Diamondbacks on three fronts. First, he's a veteran with two World Series rings in his collection. Secondly, when healthy, he's a formidable bat in the lineup. Youk is a .288 career hitter, and has averaged 84 runs batted in over the last six seasons. And, he's a solid defender. Youkilis won a Gold Glove as a first baseman in 2007, and has a .966 career fielding percentage as a third basemen.

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers also have interest in acquiring Youkilis, so the chances are good that if he is moved, he'll land in the National League West.

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