Youkilis squashes Valentine chatter

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Kevin Youkilis is back in the lineup in the five-hole today after sitting out Marathon Monday’s 1-0 loss to the Rays with a sore groin.

At the same time the dust was clearing after a verbal back and forth with manager Bobby Valentine, who said on WHDH’s “Sports Xtra” that he didn’t think Youkilis was as “physically or emotionally into the game as he had been in the past.”

Youkilis, hitting .200 on the young season, was ready to put the incident behind him Tuesday. Asked if he thought there’d be any lingering effects on the player-manager relationship, Youkilis hoped not.

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“I hope it’s a one-and-done type thing and we’re all good and we’re all going to be one big happy family and play some ball,” Youkilis said.

For his part, Valentine said, “There’s no way to know. I hope not.”

When word of Valentine’s earlier comments reached Dustin Pedroia, he immediately defended Youkilis.

“It’s always good when your teammates have your back,” Youkilis said. “That’s what we do for each other. So it’s good.

“This environment can be rough. In this town, sometimes, when you don’t win your first four games and stuff like that, you have to stick together. We’ve done a good job of that. We’ve come out and played some good ball after struggling at first, so now we’ve just got to play a great series.”

As Valentine said Monday, had the first pitch not been at 11:05 a.m., Youkilis would have likely taken the field.

“It was just one of those things where if it was a 7 o’clock game I could have gone,” Youkilis said.

A funky slide into home plate trying to score from first on Sunday led to Youkilis groin issues. He joked that if the plate hadn’t been there, “I’d be done for the year.”

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