Youkilis encouraged by team meeting


Youkilis encouraged by team meeting

FORT MYERS, Fla. As the currently second-longest tenured player on the Red Sox, Kevin Youkilis has a unique perspective. After Saturdays first full-squad workout he talked about getting to know his new manager, Bobby Valentine, and the teams first official meeting of the season.

It's fun, Youkilis said of getting to know Valentine. It's definitely one of those things where once you start to get to know somebody's personality and what they want on the field, what fundamental things they preach, that's one of the differences to is when you have a manager out there, you've got to understand their style of play. I've only played for one manager. Terry Francona's philosophy was we're going to hit the ball, we're going to run the bases well and then we're going to play and we're not going to bunt that much. Bobby might be different. Bobby might have us bunt and I don't know the situation. There's no correct way of playing the game of baseball other than just doing the little things, running the bases, getting hits and moving guys over. That's what our goals are in spring training early and often.

So far, Valentine has been a very hands-on manager.

I think an enthusiastic manager also gets the players going, Youkilis said. There's going to be times where there's some bad situations that come up. Rain delay here and there, tarps coming off the field. If you've got a manager that is enthusiastic and getting you out there and getting you ready to play, that's a good thing. So we're excited to get him on board and all the new coaches and all the new people on board to help us win a World Series.

Early Saturday morning, the team held its first meeting of the spring, during which Valentine, general manager Ben Cherington, presidentCEO Larry Lucchino and chairman Tom Werner addressed the team. Principal owner John Henry was at the meeting, but did not speak. David Ortiz was the only player to speak.

It was just a good meeting to start off, introduce all the new people on the staff and just about going out there and playing ball, Youkilis said.

And what about the new team rules, including Valentines ban on beer in the clubhouse?

Our rules are just kept between our rules and that's stuff that's just in-house, Youkilis said.

But, I think the mood was great. It's one of those things where you're just excited to get going and be together as a team. Bobby came out there and just talked to us and basically just gave us a good message. For us, it was fun to see him up there talking and get to know your manager a little bit. Everyday we're on the field we're going to get to know him a lot more, as a man and as a manager. It's exciting. I'm very excited about it.

Youkilis would not elaborate on what was discussed in the meeting.

That's the stuff we're just going to keep in-house, he said. We're not going to really talk about it. It was a good meeting. We got out there and playing the game and doing the little things, it was kind of fun to go out in the field. All the different, new, intricate things and guys hitting fungos to each other and all that stuff, that was the cool thing. We actually did cool things where the coaches were hitting the ball and we were at each base and all working on, right from the get-go, situational things, man on first, man on second, man on third, what do we do? And that was the fun part of it.

For Youkilis, it was nice to get back to playing baseball, even making him feel like a kid again.

It was good. he said. I kind of like it. You're kind of moving. A lot of times when you start stopping for a 10-minute period and you're sitting around, you start to tighten up and you have to crank it back up again. Especially in this warm weather when you take a water break and sit down. But the cool thing is we kind of have a little snack break, which makes us think like we're back in camp again, which is a lot of fun. I'm not going to lie to you. We get apple sauce and granola bars.

Stars, studs and duds: Stevens shows confidence in Brown


Stars, studs and duds: Stevens shows confidence in Brown

Jaylen Brown made a costly turnover in the final minute that contributed to Boston’s 105-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls.

The fact that he was even in the game at that point speaks to not just his potential, but the level of confidence the rookie has already garnered from the Boston Celtics coaching staff.

Brown, who had nine points on 4-for-7 shooting on Thursday, turned the ball over with less than a minute to play and the Celtics trailing 101-99 at the time.

Moments after the turnover, Chicago’s Dwyane Wade drained a step-back 3-pointer that sealed the Bulls’ victory.

Disappointed with the game’s outcome, Brown acknowledged that it meant a lot to him for Stevens to have enough confidence in him to keep him on the floor down the stretch.

But with that faith comes added pressure for Brown to come through and deliver.

“It means I have to do better and try and execute for my team and earn everything I get,” Brown told reporters after the game. “I don’t want anything given to me just because I’m the number three pick in the draft.”

Stevens was asked about having Brown on the floor in the game’s closing seconds.

“He (Brown) was playing pretty well and I thought we were better off playing small,” Stevens said. “I wanted to keep Jaylen in there. I thought he did a lot of good things tonight.”

“Obviously that play didn’t go his way,” Stevens said.

On the play in question, Brown was matched up with Chicago’s Nikola Mirotic. Brown began to make a move, and eventually spun away from Mirotic and left his feet.

Brown was called for the turnover when he left his feet to make a pass, but didn’t release the ball until after he had landed – a traveling violation.

“I was looking for an outlet,” said Brown in explaining his late-game miscue. “I should have just shot the ball but I was thinking it was a bad shot. I probably should have just shot it. I just saw Mirotic on me, slower feet. Coach (Stevens) told me to drive him so I tried to be aggressive. I should have made a play.”

Brown added, “Just have to come out and execute, and play the game the right way. I want to make coach feel like he has a reason to put me out on the floor.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Thursday night’s game.



Dwyane Wade

The Chicago native gave his family and friends plenty to cheer about on Thursday. In his first game playing for his hometown Chicago Bulls, Wade had 22 points which included a back-breaking 3-pointer with 26 seconds to play that pretty much sealed the Bulls victory. Consider this: He made a total of seven 3-pointers all last season. He had four on Thursday.

Isaiah Thomas

For the second straight game, Thomas tallied 25 points and continued to shoot the ball extremely well. His 25 points on Thursday came on 10-for-15 shooting. He also had four assists and three rebounds.

Jimmy Butler

Butler was among the Chicago players who shot the ball much, much better from 3-point range than they usually do. He finished with a team-high 24 points which included him knocking down four of his six 3-point attempts.



Avery Bradley

Bradley provided a nice offensive complement to Thomas’ high scoring night, finishing with 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting. Bradley also made his presence felt on the boards and as a distributor with six rebounds and five assists.

Nikola Mirotic

He may have lost out on a starting job to Taj Gibson, but Mirotic’s value to the Bulls is clear. Mirotic had 15 points off the bench, shooting 6-for-11 from the field in addition to nine rebounds.



Second-chance points

Boston’s only two games into the season, but second-chance points looks to be an issue with no clear-cut solution. For the second straight game, Boston was outscored by double digits in second-chance points. On Thursday, Chicago had an 18-5 advantage in second-chance points.