Youkilis is poised to move past controversy
Kevin Youkilis was back in the lineup for Tuesday night’s game against the Rangers, and the Red Sox third baseman expressed hope that there would be no lingering controversy from the firestorm that seemed to engulf the clubhouse Monday.
“I hope it’s a one-and-done type thing and we’re all good,’’ Youkilis said before the game. “We’re all going to be one big happy family and play some ball.’’
The controversy stemmed from comments made by manager Bobby Valentine Sunday night on Channel 7 that seemed to question Youkilis’s commitment. Addressing Youkilis’s slow start, Valentine said, “I don’t think he is physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason.’’
Youkilis met with Valentine Monday morning, and the manager apologized for any offense the third baseman may have taken. Dustin Pedroia later spoke out in Youkilis’s defense, saying, “I know Youk plays as hard as anyone I’ve ever seen in my life and I have his back and his teammates have his back.
“We know how hard he plays. I don’t really understand what Bobby’s trying to do, but that’s not the way we go about our stuff around here. I’m sure he’ll figure that out soon.’’
Asked if he thought there would be any lingering issues, Valentine said, “There’s no way to know. I hope not.’’
Youkilis was kept out of the lineup Monday as a precaution because of a sore groin. He hurt himself when he “slid a little funky’’ into home plate in Sunday’s victory over the Rays.
“We’ve all moved on,’’ he said Tuesday. “We’re all ready to play Texas and we’re going to go out there and try to get a W against Texas.
“I don’t want to talk really much about that anymore. I said what I said [Monday] and that’s all I got.’’
Youkilis, though, was heartened by the support in the clubhouse.
“It’s always good when your teammates have your back, and that’s what we do for each other, so it’s good,’’ he said. “There’s a lot of good guys in here, and there’s things we do off the field, too, and stick together.
“You know this environment can be rough. This town, if you’re not winning the first four games or stuff like that, it can be a little rough, so you have to stick together.
“We’ve done a good job of that. We’ve come out and played some good ball after we struggled at first.
“We had a great series - beat Tampa, who’s a great team, and that’s what we got to do in this series.’’
Asked if he would have done the same for his teammates, Youkilis replied, “Oh, for sure.’’
Youkilis struck out in each of his four at-bats Tuesday night.
Jacoby Ellsbury continued treatment for his subluxed right shoulder, which he injured in Friday’s romp over the Rays.
General manager Ben Cherington said Monday that the results of the MRI Ellsbury underwent were shipped to Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles for further review.
But Valentine said Tuesday that the secondary review did not yield anything different from the initial diagnosis.
“I think there’s a consensus of opinion on what the damage was and how to proceed,’’ Valentine said.
Asked if it firmed up any plans on Ellsbury’s course of treatment, Valentine said, “Just try to take it slowly to get it better.’’
Crawford in action
Carl Crawford had a productive day in his first rehab assignment in Fort Myers, Fla., where he got four at-bats Tuesday in an extended spring training game. “He walked one of them, he attempted a stolen base, and he hit the ball the other three times and felt great after the game,’’ Valentine said . . . The Orioles claimed catcher Luis Exposito on waivers from Boston. Exposito, 25, who was the Sox’ 31st-round selection in the 2005 draft, was designated for assignment Sunday (along with pitcher Michael Bowden) after hitting .268 in seven minor league seasons with the Sox . . . Ryan Sweeney went 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles, improving his average to a team-high .406 . . . Pedroia hit his team-leading third home run in the first inning . . . Tuesday marked the 48th anniversary of Tony Conigliaro’s Fenway Park debut. Conigliaro, then 19, homered off Chicago’s Joel Horlen on the first pitch he saw, driving it over the wall in left.
Michael Vega can be reached at email@example.com.