Results tagged ‘ Kevin Youkilis ’

Youk: I’ll always be a Red Sox

When the Red Sox open their season at Yankee Stadium on April 1, it will be a somewhat jarring sight to see Kevin Youkilis in Pinstripes, starting at third base.

For a few years, nobody was more representative of the Red Sox than Youkilis, with his grind-it-out style of play. But we all know how it ended.

Youk met with the New York media after arriving at Spring Training on Thursday. Here are some highlights.

On the lack of facial hair:  “Last year, I was with the White Sox. We had moustaches and then I shaved it off. I’ve been clean-shaven here and there over the years, but fully now for the rest of the year. I think I’m not the type of person who kept it well-groomed at all times, anyway, the length varied all the time, so. I’m not all that picky about my looks.”

Getting to know Yankees fans: “It’s funny, a lot of fans have been good. There’s been Yankee fans that yell at me and say stuff on the field, and there’s been Yankee fans that bought me beer at the Super Bowl last year when the Giants played. I was in line, and two Giants fans, they were nice to me, so, it’s kind of a heat of the moment thing on both sides. but when you’re out in public you don’t get it too bad. I’ve had it a couple of times when people yelled stuff.”

Feel like a Yankee? “Uh, yeah. Got the number in there, got the pinstripes. it’s definitely real. it’s going to be an enjoyable time this year. I’m just going to trying to go out there every day and play hard and try to win a World Series.”

Remembering the Boston years: To negate all the years I played for the Boston Red Sox, and all the tradition, you look at all the stuff I have piled up at my house and to say I’d just throw it out the window, it’s not true. I’ll always be a Red Sox, you know. Guys play on different teams and that’s a part of your history, that’s a part of your life and you can’t change that. it was great years in Boston. One bad half year doesn’t take away from all the great years I had there and all the good things I’ve been able to along the way and accomplish as a team, as an individual, it was great. I saw a Red Sox fan this morning and bought him a coffee and just talked. It’s part of your life. It’s not defining. I know the rivalry is so hyped up and all that, but as players, the fans are still going to like you or dislike you in the heat of the moment, but when all is said and done, I’m just another human being who’s going to go through those doors, and some other guy is going to go through them when I’m done.”

Reaction from Sox fans this season? “You never know. Some people will be appreciative and some people might, you know, in life some people see it in black and white and some people see it in grays, so, for me it’s, you hope fans appreciate it, but you also understand, hey, you’re playing on the team that’s the enemy in their eyes. they might cheer you the first at bat and boo you the next. But it all sounds the same. You just take it in stride.”

The developing debate at the hot corner

The Red Sox have an old-fashioned quarterback controversy developing here. Well, make that a third base controversy.

Will Middlebrooks, the prized prospect, is hitting the cover off the ball. Kevin Youkilis is on the disabled list, resting his ailing back.

So what happens when Youkilis comes back? The earliest Youk can play is next Monday at home against the Indians. Given that he had just started a walking program the other day, it sounds ambitious that he would return that soon.

In other words, Middlebrooks will get a chance to keep proving himself, like he did Monday night, when he put on a Tour De Force of power at Kauffman Stadium. He curled one around the RF foul pole. He smashed one off the wall in center. He clanged one off the LF foul pole. For those keeping score at home, Middlebrooks has nine RBIs in the last two games.

To take it a step further, Youkilis has nine RBIs in 64 at-bats. Middlebrooks has had 21 at-bats.

Can Youkilis revert back to the star he was before injuries started taking a toll on him in August of 2010? In his last 143 at-bats dating back to Aug. 1 of last season, Youkilis is hitting .203 with four homers and 15 RBIs.

But what happens when scouting reports start to develop on Middlebrooks? Does he then tail off or does he adjust quickly?

There is a lot to think about for the Red Sox. Youkilis obviously doesn’t have a lot of trade value at the moment, given his $12 million salary for this season. He is a free agent following the year, and the Red Sox hold a $13 million option on him with a $1 million buyout.

Could a situation develop where Youkilis is the veteran stuck on the bench, like Mike Lowell in 2010?

Or do the Red Sox deal Youkilis, in which case they will likely have to eat a lot of the salary.

This is yet another tough decision for Ben Cherington to be faced with in his first season as general manager.

Middlebrooks and the Red Sox are back out there tonight in an 8:05 p.m. ET contest at Kauffman Stadium.

Bobby V. backs Aceves

At least for now, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine wants to stick with Alfredo Aceves in the ninth inning. Mark Melancon will also still be asked to get important outs.

“Everything happened so quickly,” Valentine said. “He thinks he’s making pretty good pitches. I do too. Mark was pretty close to finishing that out. The ball wasn’t that bad a pitch. It’s not like we say make up something to new and we have to come up with something different. We’ve got to have a little better results and I think we’ll have that.”

Valentine didn’t hide from the awkwardness of the Daniel Bard situation, knowing full well that there’s he public perception that he should be closing.

“We’ve talked and he gets it,” Valentine said. “Poor guy has been thrown into a situation that no one should have to be thrown into really before his first major league start of the season. Words aren’t going to do anything more than his performance will, that’s for sure.”

The lineup is back to what it was the first two games, except Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz won’t be back to back. Youkilis will hit cleanup, separating the lefty sluggers.

“I don’t think I really need to say why. There might be a little madness there though,” Valentine said.

Youkilis went hitless in his first two games, so this could be a way for him to get better pitches to hit.

Youk getting tested back in Boston

Kevin Youkilis hadn’t really looked right the past few days from a mobility standpoint and we found out why today. While the Red Sox flew from Toronto to Florida, Youkilis flew back to Boston to have his left hip checked out. The exam included an MRI.

Youkilis had been on the DL from Aug.  18-Sept. 2 with a lower back strain. Is this latest development alarming? That all depends on what the test results show.

“We were going to give Youk the day off today most likely,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “He was really limping last couple of days, especially last night, so his hip started bothering him a little bit, so we got him back to Boston to get looked at, he’s probably getting looked at right now. just rying to figure out what, when, where why so he doesn’t have to limp through the last couple of weeks because we need him. Hopefully we’ll have news here pretty soon.
It’s been – trying to figure out if it’s connected. Hopefully we’ll get some answers.”

Youkilis isn’t alone on the banged-up list. Erik Bedard, who had his start skipped this week anyway because of knee stiffness, went back to Boston to get some discomfort in his left lat checked out.

“Erik went back to Boston,” Francona said. “After the other day, he talked about his knee bothering him and it was, he was throwing all arm as he got through that start, his lat started flaring up on him so we got him back to Boston, he’s got a mild lat strain. I think he’s flying back tonight to join us. We’ll slot him in when we think it’s appropriate, I don’t know when that is.’’

As for Josh Beckett, there is still no word on when he will return from his sprained ankle.

“Well, he gets looked at every day, and he’s doing much better today,” Francona said.  “He can do his throwing, so he’s not going to get set back and then we all kind of know how important his five-day schedule is so when we get to that point we’ll kind of slot him in.”

Youk ready to tackle third

The first baseman, at least for the last five years, is now ready to get back to third.

“I mean, there’s some stuff — you have to charge the ball a little bit more,” Youkilis said. “You get used to that right away. I think that’s one of the things you recognize and work on. I think, for me, from playing there a little bit last year in a couple of games, it just comes to you naturally when you play that position, you can’t sit back. When that’s in your mind already, I think, when you’re playing first base, you kind of get a little lazy, whereas at third base, you prepare. I knew that coming into spring training that I’d have to go get balls more. Mentally that’s already put in and taking groundballs yesterday that’s already come in.”

Youkilis has gotten to know Adrian Gonzalez a little the last few days, and looks forward to more interaction throughout the spring.

Mainly Boston’s cleanup man since Manny Ramirez was traded on July 31, 2008, Youkilis isn’t sure where he’ll wind up in this loaded lineup. He doesn’t much care either. “Anywhere second through ninth.”

The thumb injury that ended his 2010 season on Aug. 2? It’s no longer an issue.

“I feel great, my body is feeling good, my hand is feeling good. Just got in good shape like normal and I’m ready to play third base this year,” said Youkilis.

The Red Sox are holding their first pitchers and catchers workout as we speak. Josh Beckett will hold a press conference after the workout.

Manny being Manny — again

Who can figure Manny out? The newest member of the Chicago White Sox is back in Boston for the second time this season, but far more talkative than in his first visit.

Do you know that if the Red Sox had been awarded the waiver claim for Ramirez instead of the White Sox, he would have happily come back to Boston?

“What I did here in the past is in the past. But if they claimed me, why should I say no?” Ramirez said.

For the first time, he was openly apologetic about the way his time with the Red Sox ended. You know, the swing at Youkilis, the shoving of Jack McCormick, the petulant behavior. All that stuff.

“Everything was my fault, but you have to be a real man to realize when you do wrong. It was my fault, right. I already passed that stage,” Ramirez said. “I’m happy. I’m on a new team. When I went to first base [in June], I told Youkilis, ‘What happened between you and me, that’s my fault. I’m sorry. It takes a real man to go and tell a person it was my fault  and that’s what I did.”

Ramirez is clearly more introspective than at any time before in his career.

“In life, you pass every stage,” Ramirez said. “I passed that stage and you keep growing. You look back and say I did this wrong, but what’s done is done. All you can do is go and play the game and finish your career good.”

Ramirez will be at Fenway Park all day on Saturday for a day-night doubleheader.

Lowell still here, but for how long?

Mike Lowell is again not on the active roster, despite the fact his Minor League rehab assignment ended last Wednesday. Sounds like something will happen one way or another within the next 1-2 days.

Kevin Youkilis left the game with a jammed right thumb. If that had been any kind of a significant injury, Lowell’s presence could have come in handy. We will have more on Youk after the game.

Mike Cameron is shutting it down for a while. He was placed on the disabled list today, with Daniel Nava getting called back up from Pawtucket. Nava probably shouldn’t apply for that change of address form just yet though. Jacoby Ellsbury should be back within the next few days, at which point Nava will probably get sent back down.

What is going on with Dustin Pedroia? He can basically do everything but run at full speed. When he runs, he still “feels it” a little bit. That means the broken bone has not completely healed. Once that happens, his return to the lineup should be fairly quick.

Swish pulls in front; Will Youk take it at buzzer?

The pendulum has swung again, with this morning’s news that Nick Swisher has passed Kevin Youkilis in the Final Vote balloting by the slimmest of margins.

Voting concludes at 3:59 p.m. http://www.redsox.com and http://www.mlb.com.

On the plus side, Youkilis is healthy after leaving Tuesday’s game with cramping in his right ankle. He is back in the lineup tonight, batting cleanup. Ryan Shealy has been called up from the Minors as injury protection.

Youk moves in front

Halfway through the process for the Final Vote at http://www.mlb.com, Kevin Youkilis has moved in front of Nick Swisher.

Youkilis is trying to make the Red Sox 4-0 when they have a player in the Final Vote. If successful, he would join Johnny Damon (2002), Jason Varitek (2003) and Hideki Okajima (2007) as Sox players to make the All-Star Game on the Final Vote.

You can vote until Thursday at 4 p.m. ET at http://www.redsox.com and http://www.mlb.com.

Six Sox Stars and one (sort of) snub

The Red Sox got plenty of respect from players around Major League Baseball as no fewer than six Boston players were slected to the All-Star Game via the player voting.

But just as newsy as Adrian Beltre, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Victor Martinez being named to the squad was the news that Kevin Youkilis did not make the cut.

Youkilis is one of the five AL players eligible for the Final Vote ballot, so Red Sox fans should go to http://www.mlb.com or http://www.redsox.com and vote if they want to support the gritty first baseman.

“I’m not a self promoter,” said Youkilis. “I’m not going to tell anyone to vote for me. I hope my family and friends vote for me. but it’s going to take more than that. For me, I’m going to go out and play baseball and not worry about it. I’ts out of my hands. You just go out and try to win a ballgame.”

Beltre seemed to be the guy that Sox players were the happiest for.

“No question, man,” said Ortiz. “If there’s one guy in this clubhouse who should be part of the All-Star Game, it’s Adrian. Adrian has been doing an unbelievable job for this ballclub and I think he’s earned it.”

Clay Buchholz has come the furthest in the shortest amount of time. Remember two years ago when he was so despondent and lost and posted a 6.75 ERA in 16 starts?

“There’s been a lot of ups and downs to get to this point. Being able to be named with the guys that are on, that’s awesome,” said Buchholz. “It’s something that I dreamed about growing up. I dreamed about just playing in the big leagues. I’m as happy as can be.”

Though Jon Lester has pitched like an All-Star since May of 2008, this is his first time officially being one.

“It’s obviously big,” said Lester. “It’s something you grow up watching as a kid, the home-run derby and everything. You see a lot of great players playing that game. It’s definitely an honor. Like I said before, I’m going to try to do my best to represent the Red Sox and hopefully do well out there.”

For Ortiz, this All-Star berth has to be particuarly gratifying, considering the number of people who were on the verge of giving up on him back in April.

“That’s a tough first month,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “He said all along, ‘It’s a long year, stay with me.’ There’s probably days when he was irritated with me and probably days where he was more than irritated with some of you. He’s right. He’s been a terrific player and continues to be, and I think it’s great that he was recognized for that.”

At least outwardly, Ortiz took the news in stride.

“I really appreciate it, man, what the players think about a guy like myself,” Ortiz said. “Like I say, I’m a guy that I try to respect everyone and play the game the way it’s supposed to be. I think when you get voted in by the players, it’s just because pretty much everyone agrees with what you’re doing, so, I’d say I really appreciate that.”

For Pedroia, the All-Star nod has to be bittersweet since he currently is walking with crutches and obviously won’t be able to play in the game.

“It’s still a great honor,” Pedroia said. “I’m really excited. The players voted me in? That’s pretty cool. Pretty special. I’m excited about it.”

As for Youkilis, Ortiz said to get out there and vote.

“Yeah man, all of you out there, you guys make sure that my boy Youk comes on this flight. You can’t play no better than that,” said Ortiz. “When I found out he wasn’t going, I was kind of upset. A guy that has put it together like Youk thorugh the years and especially this season, he really deserves to be out there. I know a lot of people will keep that in mind and make sure Youk is an all-star. He deserves to be in there.”

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