By Dan Hayes
MINNEAPOLIS -- Kevin Youkilis said before Mondays game he has moved on from the Red Sox, who traded him to the White Sox after nine seasons in Boston a day earlier.
No matter how politically correct he manages to be, Youkilis -- who didnt comment when asked about his relationship with Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine -- is motivated by the idea baseball observers doubt he still has the ability to play.
Youkilis said those questions offer more motivation than his sour ending with the Red Sox. His trade to the White Sox comes a little more than two months after Valentine, who is in his first season with the Red Sox, questioned the veteran third basemans desire to play baseball.
Youkilis is hitting .233 with four homers and 14 RBIs this season.
I dont think it has to do with (the end there), just that there was a lot of talk and saying You cant play baseball anymore, and I think I can, Youkilis said. I think I can play at a high level and go out there. But talk is one thing and I have to go out and prove it by my actions.
During Sundays press conference to announce the trade, general manager Kenny Williams said Youkilis has an edge and wants to prove his doubters incorrect. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski said Monday he believes the addition of a motivated Youkilis can only be a positive.
Its never bad when a guy has something to prove to himself and other people, Pierzynski said. I think Kevin is a proud guy. He has done a lot of good things in this game and wants to prove that hes not done and that he can still play.
Youkilis said he now feels healthy after he spent much of the early part of the season battling a lower-back injury. Youkilis has been limited to 42 games because of injury and after he lost playing time to Red Sox rookie Will Middlebrooks, who on Monday was named the American League player of the week.
The combination of poor play, injuries and lost playing time led to frustration for Youkilis.
I started out really cold and hadnt played up to my capability and it was very frustrating, Youkilis said. I wasnt very happy with how I was producing. I wasnt playing good baseball and it wasnt consistent playing time moving back and forth. It wasnt the way I was accustomed to playing. Im just excited to come to Chicago.
The White Sox are pleased to bring Youkilis on board. Manager Robin Ventura said acquiring Youkilis is a good message for the front office to send the clubhouse.
You know they care, Ventura said. They see the need and they understand and youre trying to get the best guy you can get. Hes the best guy we can get. Thats what guys feel. Theyre going out and getting somebody thats going to fit in and be a pro and has a history of being a good player.
As for how Youkilis fits in the clubhouse appears to be of little concern. Players greeted Youkilis with open arms in the visiting clubhouse at Target Field, including Adam Dunn, who wore and dirtied up Youkilis old Red Sox jersey before batting practice.
Were a pretty easygoing bunch and theres no reason why he shouldnt fit right in, second baseman Gordon Beckham said.