FORT MYERS, Fla. ó†Kevin Youkilis spent some time with reporters this afternoon. Here is what he has to say on a few subects:
His health: "It was more the hip, the bursitis in the hip and trying to get that out. Worked on that and itís still a continued thing just to try and get back to 100 percent in that area. Itís every day, just maintaining that and keeping that up.
"Last year was a tough year. I never really felt 100 percent, early with the hip and all that and just playing through it. It was definitely a grind trying to get through it. But itís definitely good to come into spring training feeling good.
"Thereís going to be times youíre going to be sore. You canít go through a whole baseball season and be 100 percent. For the whole thing itís trying to maintain and get your body in the best shape. With the new facility here and some new stuff weíve got going up in the training room in Boston, itís going to allow us to be physically prepared every day."
On watching the end of last season from the disabled list: "I donít like sitting back and watching baseball. I like playing baseball. I really enjoy the game and competing and all that stuff. For me, itís all about going out and getting on base and playing defense and high-fiving each other at the back of the mound when the games are over. I had to sit back there and see all the losing and go in the clubhouse and see guys so upset and hurt. It was tough, it was tough to watch. Because no matter what you say, you canít do anything. Ö It hurts more just to sit back and see guys pretty upset ad beat up mentally from losing."
On how this season can be different for him: "I think the biggest thing is if you feel healthy, youíre going to play a lot better. For me, if I feel healthy I can move and make the plays and help out team on defense which will also lead to go offense when go out and hit."
Was he limited last year: "For sure. I couldnít move in ways that I would love to move. It definitely was tough. It was not easy. You start making adjustments with your body and thatís when other things start hurting."
On Bobby Valentine: "I think he has the most energy of any man Iíve ever met in my life. Heís around here talking to fans and having fun. It looks like he really just enjoys the game of baseball. Itís a lot of fun to have. Weíre excited to have him here. He was on the field working with us on the infield and giving us pointers on what we need to do. Thatís kind of good. He wasnít in our ear every single second. Just the little things.Ē
On Bobby V changing the spring routine: "Thereís not going to be any complaining here."
On Carl Crawford: "Hopefully that year is behind him. If he plays up to his level, thatís great for Carlís mental side of everything he does which will help our tea. The way we look at it, is every guy can do their job on this team and every day come out mentally and physically and get themselves in the shape possible and best mental approach to the game possible, this is a great team."
On being one of the older players: ďIt is kind of wild, that 2004 team thereís only two of us left. Itís crazy. I donít know if that makes us seem older and how time flies. Itís definitely kind of weird.
"Thatís the game of baseball, guys keep coming and going. For us, David [Ortiz] and I have definitely gotten a lot closer over the year. Itís one of those things where we sit there and [say], ĎMan, I cant believe weíre the only ones left here.í But I guess we have to keep that torch going for as many years as we can.
ďItís a great thing, Hopefully I end my career in Boston. Iíve never played for anyone else, so I donít know any better. With a new manager, too Iíve never played for a new manager. Itís all new to me. Being part of the Boston Red Sox for, I think my ninth season coming up. Itís a great thing to be able to play for one team. A lot of guys bounce around. Ö Iíve enjoyed every minute of it."
Does he feel old: "Do I feel old? It depends on the day? I feel old in my wise, mature nature. Whatever that means."
Does he think about this being the last guaranteed year of his contract: I really donít. I already hit the jackpot in monetary terms in the way I look at life. I life a different kind of lifestyle where Iím not flashy and all that, Money is not why I play this game. I play this game because I love the game and I love going out there and competing. Thatís why I play baseball. I think more and friends and family are like, ĎYou need to get this big deal, three years and so-and-so.í I canít worry about that. Once you start worrying about money and contracts and all that thatís when you have outside things in your head. Youíre getting up and facing Felix Hernandez, you canít be worrying about your contract.
ďFor me, itís not about a contract year. If I stay healthy and play hard and do everything I can and do the little things, I know I can play here.Ē
Is his future in his mind knowing next season is not guaranteed: ďItís a business side on both sides. If you donít play to a certain point, you have X amount of dollars and if it doesnít fit in that equation, then youíre not going to be here. Thatís something I canít worry about. Thatís something for them to worry about. My whole job is to win ball games. I know if Iím out there starting every day and we win a World Series, thereís a good chance I might come back. Thatís my whole goal. I know if we win and we win a World Series, itís going to be hard for them not to bring me back. Iím going to make it as hard on them as possible not to bring me back.Ē
On the division: "The AL East is probably the best division in baseball. Itís time for us to prove it this year by winning a World Series and hopefully itís us winning that World Series. Every year it gets tough.Ē