At some point in the near future, Kevin Youkilis will likely be traded, the rumors finally turning into reality. The White Sox, Dodgers and several other teams are all interested in pursuing a move that could come as early as today.
Just don’t ask Youkilis to reflect on his Red Sox memories. Especially when no move has been made yet.
“I’m still here. I’m not dead,” Youkilis said.
“Is this a goodbye thing? I’m just sitting here at my locker. I haven’t been told anything.”
Youkilis’ tone seemed more to make light of a seemingly inevitable situation than out of anger. He took early batting practice before Saturday’s game against Atlanta, for which he is not in the lineup, and said he just wanted to stay fresh “in case my name gets called at any time,” but acknowledged that this situation represents “unknown waters.”
Youkilis last played on Wednesday in a 15-5 win over Miami, going 2 for 3 with a double, his second straight game with an extra-base hit. But any improvements of late have been masked by a career-worst .670 OPS and a .225 batting average. That Will Middlebrooks has come on so strong of late, perhaps most emblematic Thursday when he went 3 for 4 with 4 RBIs and the game-tying homer.
Though the issue has since been addressed, Youkilis said that the recent reduction in playing time was not brought to his attention by manager Bobby Valentine yesterday.
“If you don’t play I don’t know how much closer you can get. If you don’t hit, you don’t play, you can’t put up any stats or hits. I raked in the cage, if you want to know that. I was hitting missiles all over the place.”
In the meantime, Youkilis has been helping the rookie Middlebrooks along with the learning process, getting his work in for the time being. When asked about the best-case scenario given Middlebrooks’ ascent, Youkilis kept things politically correct.
“I’m a paid employee here,” Youkilis said. “When you’re a paid employee and your boss tells you to do something, you do it. Until they tell me something, I’m here to play for the Red Sox.”