Kevin Youkilis out of lineup again

Updated: June 24, 2012, 1:29 AM ET
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- Boston Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis clearly is not happy that he's out of the lineup for the third consecutive game Saturday.

He also made it a point to tell a group of reporters that he's healthy.

Youkilis
Youkilis

"You want to play. I definitely want to play the game and enjoy it and have fun," Youkilis said. "I don't know my situation. To be honest, I was never told what's going on here -- let's get that straight."

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said Friday he spoke with Youkilis, but the veteran infielder debunked that notion.

"There was no conversation and I'll leave it at that," Youkilis said. "I don't want to start up anything, but there was no conversation. But it has been addressed. ... It's been addressed that I'm not playing today. Basically, there was no conversation about it and I'm just coming in here and getting my work done. If I need to pinch hit and play the game, I'll come in and play."

Valentine clarified that he spoke to Youkilis on Friday, but not in person before the lineup was posted.

"I did (speak to him) yesterday, but not before the lineup was up but I'm not going there," he said. "I thought the question yesterday was whether he was spoken to before the game, before the lineup and I said, 'Yes.' I didn't speak to him. I thought he was spoken to. If he wasn't spoken to and he didn't understand, I made a mistake. And you know, somehow in life, we all make mistakes but I thought he was spoken to.

"I'm just trying to play the people that I want to be in the lineup," he added. "I think that's one of the things I'm allowed to do."

Rookie Will Middlebrooks has made a strong case to seize the starting third base position with 31 RBIs in just 39 games since being promoted to Boston.

"It's difficult and stressful, all those things," Valentine said of the the situation between Youkilis and Middlebrooks.

There's been serious speculation that the Red Sox are about to trade Youkilis, and there are a few teams interested in the veteran. Youkilis does not want to talk about the situation.

"I have no thoughts on anything and I haven't been told anything, so until I'm told anything, I can't really respond," Youkilis said.

This is the first time in his career he's really had to think about the possibility of a trade.

"It's definitely different and you've just got to go day to day," he said. "It's definitely unknown waters, but all you can do is come to the field and do your work and try to improve."

ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney first reported that the White Sox are one of the teams, along with the Dodgers, Indians, Braves and Diamondbacks, which have talked to the Red Sox about acquiring the 33-year-old third baseman.

A major league source confirmed to ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine the White Sox are, indeed, interested in Youkilis.

White Sox general manager Kenny Williams said before Saturday's game against the Brewers that he preferred not to discuss where the team was in discussions with other clubs, or to even address the trade climate right now in the industry.

A major league source told Levine there are a number of things that must be checked off for the White Sox to acquire Youkilis. That includes determining if Youkilis is better than any potential third baseman the team has in the organization and if the Red Sox are willing to absorb some or most of the $6 million that is still owed on Youkilis' contract, particularly if the player going to Boston is of blue-chip caliber.

If the Red Sox take a lesser-talented player they likely would expect the team acquiring Youkilis to pay a larger share of the contract.

The combined OPS (on-base plus slugging) of White Sox third basemen in 2012 is under .500 while the American League average OPS is .729.

Information from ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney and ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine was used in this report.

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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