FORT MYERS, Fla. — 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 it’s still a continued thing just to try and get back to 100 percent in that area. It’s 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 it’s definitely good to come into spring training feeling good.
“There’s going to be times you’re going to be sore. You can’t go through a whole baseball season and be 100 percent. For the whole thing it’s trying to maintain and get your body in the best shape. With the new facility here and some new stuff we’ve got going up in the training room in Boston, it’s going to allow us to be physically prepared every day.”
On watching the end of last season from the disabled list: “I don’t like sitting back and watching baseball. I like playing baseball. I really enjoy the game and competing and all that stuff. For me, it’s 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 can’t do anything. … 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, you’re 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 couldn’t 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 that’s when other things start hurting.”
On Bobby Valentine: “I think he has the most energy of any man I’ve ever met in my life. He’s around here talking to fans and having fun. It looks like he really just enjoys the game of baseball. It’s a lot of fun to have. We’re 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. That’s kind of good. He wasn’t in our ear every single second. Just the little things.”
On Bobby V changing the spring routine: “There’s not going to be any complaining here.”
On Carl Crawford: “Hopefully that year is behind him. If he plays up to his level, that’s great for Carl’s 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: “It is kind of wild, that 2004 team there’s only two of us left. It’s crazy. I don’t know if that makes us seem older and how time flies. It’s definitely kind of weird.
“That’s the game of baseball, guys keep coming and going. For us, David [Ortiz] and I have definitely gotten a lot closer over the year. It’s one of those things where we sit there and [say], ‘Man, I cant believe we’re the only ones left here.’ But I guess we have to keep that torch going for as many years as we can.
“It’s a great thing, Hopefully I end my career in Boston. I’ve never played for anyone else, so I don’t know any better. With a new manager, too I’ve never played for a new manager. It’s all new to me. Being part of the Boston Red Sox for, I think my ninth season coming up. It’s a great thing to be able to play for one team. A lot of guys bounce around. … I’ve 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 don’t. I already hit the jackpot in monetary terms in the way I look at life. I life a different kind of lifestyle where I’m 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. That’s why I play baseball. I think more and friends and family are like, ‘You need to get this big deal, three years and so-and-so.’ I can’t worry about that. Once you start worrying about money and contracts and all that that’s when you have outside things in your head. You’re getting up and facing Felix Hernandez, you can’t be worrying about your contract.
“For me, it’s 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.”
Is his future in his mind knowing next season is not guaranteed: “It’s a business side on both sides. If you don’t play to a certain point, you have X amount of dollars and if it doesn’t fit in that equation, then you’re not going to be here. That’s something I can’t worry about. That’s something for them to worry about. My whole job is to win ball games. I know if I’m out there starting every day and we win a World Series, there’s a good chance I might come back. That’s my whole goal. I know if we win and we win a World Series, it’s going to be hard for them not to bring me back. I’m going to make it as hard on them as possible not to bring me back.”
On the division: “The AL East is probably the best division in baseball. It’s time for us to prove it this year by winning a World Series and hopefully it’s us winning that World Series. Every year it gets tough.”