The Fenway faithful knew that today was going to be Kevin Youkilis’ last game in a Red Sox uniform and Youk made the most of it.
With the emergence of rookie Will Middlebrooks at third base, the oft injured Youkilis has struggled at the plate in 2012. Today, Youk went 2 for 4 with a RBI and a spectacular catch to boot during a 9-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves. In his final at bat, Youk hit a ball to right center but there was a miscommunication between Michael Bourn and Jason Heyward and it dropped in. Youk got a triple out of it.
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine then put in Nick Punto to pinch run for Youk. Bobby V and Youk, of course, had a row earlier in the season when Valentine questioned Youk’s commitment to the game. But Bobby V did the right thing and let Fenway Park says its goodbye. Youk reciprocated by blowing kisses to the crowd.
After the game, the Red Sox traded Youkilis to the Chicago White Sox for utility player Brent Lillibridge and pitcher Zach Stewart. Youk will get a chance not only to play everyday but he’ll be with a team that has emerged as one of baseball’s most pleasant surprises under new manager Robin Ventura. The Chisox presently have a half game lead on the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central. It can’t hurt that the White Sox now have a player with two World Series rings. With Youk’s departure, David Ortiz is now the only member of 2004 World Series champion Red Sox who is still with the team.
Youkilis has spent his entire professional career with the Red Sox. He was an eighth round draft pick by the Bosox in 2001. He made his big league debut with the Sox in 2004 and became an everyday player in 2006. His best overall season came in 2008 when he hit .312 with 29 homeruns and 115 RBI finishing third in the AL MVP balloting behind his teammate Dustin Pedroia. He also has a .388 lifetime OBP.
Although nicknamed The Greek God of Walks, Youk is actually Jewish. Here’s Denis Leary and Lenny Clarke riffing on Youk during a game early in his career in which he came up big in the field.
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