BOSTON -- Kevin Youkilis was placed on the disabled list Wednesday, and Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington hopes the rest will help the veteran third baseman get straightened out.
"I think the injury and his low offensive numbers are related," Cherington said. "I don't think he has felt real good. He started to feel better and swing the bat better, and there were some good signs the end of the last homestand and the early part of the road trip. He started to put some doubles together. And then the back started bothering him over the weekend in Chicago.
"He's got to feel better physically. Coming off last year, where he missed a lot of time, he was just kind of getting back in. It's an unorthodox approach, obviously, what he does with his hands. And he was starting to get comfortable with that again and the back flared up. If he feels better and he's playing consistently, we know he's going to hit. We just got to get to that point . . .
"It's not uncommon for one injury in one part of the body to have some correlation to another . . . And he's had a lot of issues around his core. So we just felt like this was the time to put him on the disabled list and give him a chance to get ahead of some of this stuff instead of asking him to swim upstream for the next two months."
Youkilis is in the final year of his contract, and Cherington noted: "Obviously, he's more motivated than anyone to get out there and play. He's got a lot of reasons to do that."
So do the Sox.
"It's a long year and we need Youkilis' bat in the middle of our lineup," said Cherington. "And when he's not feeling good, he's not the same guy. Hopefully, this downtime will let him get ahead of stuff and so that it's not nagging him all year."
Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis.
Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time.
The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.
Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball.
Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer. And…
US ambassador to Japan?
Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.
The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons.
When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team."
Would he be interested?
"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.
Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford.
Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.