FORT MYERS, Fla. — While the media contingent is no longer at those picnic benches at the player development complex — mostly since we were (nicely) kicked off the property after Kevin Youkilis spoke — we’re here to bring you the latest from the third-place finisher in the American League MVP vote.
Youkilis arrived at the complex at about 8:50 this morning ready to hit. After spending about a half hour in the clubhouse, he took off onto one of the fields complaining (in a good-natured way) that he was late. We declined to remind him that, in fact, he’s about a week early. The position players aren’t expected to be in Fort Myers until Monday, and not on the field until a week from tomorrow. I’m guessing that a 25-minute delay this morning probably wasn’t going to hurt him.
He was on the field until noon working up a sweat, including a solo stint with strength trainer Dave Page. He then addressed both the Alex Rodriguez situation and the potential abilities of the Red Sox offense, among other topics.
“It’s an unfortunate thing to hear that,” Youkilis said, when asked if he had watched the interview on ESPN with Rodriguez. “It’s also a good thing that he came out and admitted it.
“Sometimes it’s hard to go out there and admit to something in your past. There’s a lot of people in this world who have done something wrong. Myself, I’ve done things wrong — not in that nature. But it’s tough. I think it’s tough for people in general in life to admit to some of the things they’ve done wrong.”
Youkilis added that he hoped that fans wouldn’t assume that all players are on performance-enhancing drugs, given the recent revelations. He said, “I’ve never done anything like that in my life and I plan on never doing it. … I want the fans really to know that not everyone does it.”
Beyond that, Youkilis called the situation both unfair and strange, since the names of the players who had tested positive were supposed to be anonymous: “I don’t know if somebody had in it for him,” he said. “It seems like just to take one name out of that group is a little odd.”
But it wasn’t all about the Yankee.
Youkilis also addressed an offense that has given some people pause. Without Manny Ramirez or Mark Teixeira, it is possible that the offense won’t produce quite as many runs as it has in the past, leading to a greater reliance on its pitching staff.
“The one thing I always say about baseball and all other sports is one player can’t win a championship,” Youkilis said. “You’ve seen over the years it’s not even the 25-man roster, you’ve got to go all the way into the 40-man roster to win a championship. It’s definitely going to be different in the lineup without Manny Ramirez. He’s definitely probably one of the greatest righthanded hitters of all time, and there’s no player in this locker room that has the talent that Manny has, hitting-wise.
“I think the biggest thing is we have a lot of depth still. We have four guys that can go 20-plus home runs.”
He added that part of the problem for him as a power hitter is hitting in Fenway Park. If he could hit at the Coliseum in Los Angeles, he joked, he could hit 60 every year.