For now, the days of trying to wedge two third basemen into the same lineup and playing Adrian Gonzalez in right field appear over for the Red Sox.
Will Middlebrooks is starting at third base and Gonzalez at first against the Braves tonight. That leaves Kevin Youkilis on the bench.
“Today I’m riding the hot hand. Tomorrow might not be the case,” Valentine said. “I always reserve the right to change my mind.”
But Valentine also said he had a conversation with Youkilis about it, indicating that this is more than a day-to-day decision.
“[He] doesn’t necessarily totally agree with it and doesn’t wake up in the morning and hope that’s the case,” Valentine said. “I think the professional person that Kevin is understands it. I think he’s fine.”
Youkilis is hitting .225 with a .670 OPS in 41 games and 161 plate appearances. He is 4 of his last 28.
With Daniel Nava healthy and Ryan Kalish on the scene, the Red Sox do not need Gonzalez to play right field, another factor that worked against Youkilis.
“We’ll take it day-by-day. If I had my druthers, [Gonzalez] would stay at first,” Valentine said. “The reason he didn’t, it was because of necessity.”