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BOSTON -- Boston Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis was watching when rookie Will Middlebrooks homered twice in the same game in Kansas City, hitting home runs down both foul lines.
"They should have put a foul pole in center field so he could hit one off that, too," Youkilis said. "Pretty amazing to watch. Great for him to come up here at this stage and perform at a high level."
Youkilis also is not oblivious to the discussions of how the emergence of the young third baseman could impact him.
"I'm not blind," he said. "Things like that are part of the game. Things happen, things get written."
His perception of what Middlebrooks might mean for his own immediate future?
"I have no idea," he said Thursday afternoon in the Red Sox clubhouse. "I'm here to play baseball, to play for the Red Sox. If there's one thing I've learned in this game is you can't predict the future and you don't know what's going to happen. All you can do is worry about now, which for me is getting healthy and playing, and I'm a Boston Red Sox until they tell me otherwise."
Youkilis remains on the disabled list with a strained back muscle, and is eligible to come off the DL Monday. That is unlikely to happen, though, since he has not yet resumed baseball activity. Manager Bobby Valentine said Youkilis is scheduled to begin playing catch in the next day or two.
Youkilis insists he feels fine.
"You know me," he said. "I think I can play now. But they have a program, and they're going to stick with it."
He was amused when told that Valentine had said in Kansas City that Youkilis had been placed on a walking program.
"Walking program?" he said. "Oh yeah, I was walking. I wasn't paralyzed. I was very fortunate to be walking. I'm doing the physical therapy, and all the evaluations were real good."
Later, he elaborated on what his "walking program" was.
"It was 'go to the mall, get out, move around,'" he said. "It got blown out of proportion. It was like, 'Don't lay around all day, don't sit, go out for a walk.'"
So what happens with Middlebrooks when Youkilis is activated? Thursday, Valentine made it clear that playing Middlebrooks in the outfield was not an option. Youkilis has played in the outfield a total of 22 games, including left field on an emergency basis in Yankee Stadium, when former Red Sox manager Terry Francona needed a body out there.
"I don't think they want me back out there," Youkilis said. "I don't think I'd help the cause out in the outfield. I'd have to hit about 75 home runs."
Youkilis agreed that any team interested in trading for him would have to see him play first. As to the possibility of being traded?
"My goal is playing here," he said. "I love playing here. But if something happens and I have to go somewhere else, I'll go somewhere else. I don't control it. I can't control it. The only thing I can control is going out there.
"Wherever they put me in, I'll play. I've always been that way. I made the move from first to third. I raised my hand and played left. That's the type of person I am when it comes to baseball, and the type of person I will be.
"I get paid a lot of money to do a job that's a great job. For me to complain about this or that, I can't do that. I just control what I can control, which is playing the game and loving it as much as I can."