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.