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Monday, June 25, 2012
Dazed Youkilis ready to settle in

By Ben Goessling



MINNEAPOLIS -- For Kevin Youkilis, the past day and a half brought a range of emotions unlike anything he'd experienced in the major leagues.

There was the realization "that hit me like a ton of bricks" on Sunday that when he got lifted for a pinch runner, he was probably heading into the home dugout for the last time at Fenway Park. There was the logistical stress of being traded -- switching teams, boarding a flight, moving his family -- and the odd sensation of putting on something other than the Red Sox uniform he'd worn his entire career.

And then, after the Chicago White Sox lost 4-1 to the Minnesota Twins in Youkilis' first game with the south siders, there was, at last, relief.

"In 24 hours, all the things that transpired, my mind was kind of racing a little bit," he said. "Hopefully tomorrow, there won't be any Red Sox stuff in here and we can all move on."

Youkilis had printed a list of his new teammates' names and jersey numbers that he kept in his locker at Target Field. He had played with a handful of players (Jake Peavy, Adam Dunn and Matt Thornton) in the World Baseball Classic, faced Jesse Crain when the reliever was with the Twins, and worked out with Orlando Hudson in the offseason. But it had been a long time since he'd felt like a newcomer in a major league clubhouse.

"The important thing is, they've got a foundation here," he said. "I've just got to try to fit in as best I can."

Hitting second for the White Sox, Youkilis went 1-for-4 in his debut, singling up the middle in his final at-bat of the night. He glanced at the scoreboard to see Red Sox highlights -- "It seems like I can't escape the Red Sox thing" -- and had to correct himself when he first referred to Boston players as his teammates. But he left the park knowing exactly where he'd be the next day.

Amid all the newness, there was the promise of stability.

"I know where I'm at," Youkilis said. "I'll go to the hotel room, wake up, put clothes on, and not worry about packing clothes and all that other stuff."