Youkils doesn't look back in anger

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Youkils doesn't look back in anger

On his way back to Fenway, Kevin Youkilis took the high road.

Meeting with reporters Monday afternoon, hours before he was to play his first game Boston as a member of the Chicago White Sox, Youkils fondly recalled his career with the Red Sox and avoided any direct reference to his frosty relationship with manager Bobby Valentine.

"It's exciting to come back to the ballpark that I've known as home for a long time,'' said Youkilis. "I'm pretty excited to go out there and face some of my former teammates.''
Youkilis labeled his first three weeks in Chicago "great. I think the transition was easy because of the players and the coaching staff. They welcomed me. All the White Sox have been so great to me.''

Recalling his final game as a member of the Red Sox, when he was pulled for a pinch-runner in the seventh and got an emotional send-off from fans and teammates alike, Youkilis called it a "great day,'' and a tribute to Red Sox fans.

Looking back on the deal, Youkilis sensed that the Red Sox had decided to make rookie Will Middlebrooks their regular third baseman. Noting that he was blocked at first by Adrian Gonzalez and at DH by David Ortiz, Youkilis sensed it was time.

"There was either one or two moves to be made to relieve the logjam, and I was that move,'' said Youkilis, "because of contract issues and all different kinds of issues. That's just the bottom line. In the team's opinion, it was time for me to go.''

As best he could, Youkilis steered clear of any controversy.

"I don't understand why this is still a big rift,'' he said. "I'm just here to play baseball. There's no Bobby V. vs Kevin Youkilis or vice versa.

It's about the Chicago White Sox vs the Boston Red Sox and playing baseball.

"I'm just here to comment on this game today and going forward. Whatever happened in the past, there's been a lot of great moments, there's been a lot of down moments, and there's been a lot in-between. So I'm not going to

That's what it's all about. We're here to play baseball. We're not here to do anything else.''

But read between the lines and there were a few comments that alluded to the friction that existed between he and Valentine.

Asked if he no longer felt wanted by the Red Sox before the deal was made, Youkilis said:

"I think the players were great to me, a lot of people were great to me.''

The use of the word "players'' doesn't seem accidental, intimating that while teammates were behind him, the manager wasn't.

He also couldn't help but note "it's definitely fun to know when you're playing. There's not added things going around. I know everyday, I'm playing.

If I'm not playing, Robin will come to me....He's pretty good with communication.''

Youkilis was one of the players taken aback by Valentine's policy of not informing players
the night before they were out of the lineup. It first happened in the third game of the season in Detroit.

He cited "less drama'' in Chicago than in Boston, which he partly attributed to the smaller number of reporters who cover the White Sox.

"It's fun,'' he said. "We have a lot of fun. Not to say we didn't have a lot of fun when I was (in Boston). But it's just a different entity in the Midwest, I guess.''

He vowed to maintain ties to Boston, where some good friends reside and where he still operates a charity.

Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 5, Angels 4

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Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 5, Angels 4

Quotes, Notes and Stars of the Red Sox’ 5-4 win over the Angels

Quotes

"It's a joke. That's a brutal call for whoever's back in New York looking at it.'' - Mike Scioscia on decision not to cite fan interference on ground-rule double in the ninth.

"We played with 26 players tonight. I was like, 'Yes!''' - David Ortiz on the fan who touched Daniel Nava's double.

"If I had to go back and do it all over again, I probably would have just thrown a knuckleball. I didn't want to walk a guy, but I've got to think about the bigger picture and just swallow the walk.'' - Steven Wright, on the fastball thrown to C.J. Cron, who hit a grand slam.

Notes

* David Ortiz moved into 19th place all-time in home runs with No. 522, breaking a tie with Willie McCovey, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams.

* Ortiz collected his 2,000th hit as a member of the Red Sox, something only six other players in history have accomplished.

* Ortiz also passed Thomas in career RBI with 1,704, good for 23rd place.

* Ortiz extended his Fenway hitting streak to 18 games. He's reached base at home in every home game since April 29.

* Steven Wright has allowed just six homers all season, but three have come in the last four games. Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts became the first Red Sox teammates to record 100 hits each before the team's 81st game since 1988 when four players did so - Wade Boggs, Dwight Evans, Mike Greenwell and Marty Barrett.

* The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Red Sox against the Angels.

* The game marked the 47th time in first 79 games that the Sox have collected 10 or more hits. That leads the majors, with Kansas City and Detroit next at 39.

* The Sox are 23-9 in Brock Holt's starts.

Stars

1) David Ortiz

Ortiz had a three-hit game with two singles and a homer, the last of which was his 2,000th hit in a Red Sox uniform. The homer also was career home run No. 522, moving him past three Hall of Famers into 19th place all-time.

2) Brock Holt

Holt announced his presence loud and clear with two doubles, two runs scored, an RBI and an assist from the outfield.

3) C.J. Cron

Cron made things mighty interesting with one swing of the bat in the sixth, driving a ball into the Monster Seats for a grand slam that brought the Angels back to within a run.

Sean McAdam can be followed on Twitter: @Sean_McAdam

First impressions from the Red Sox' 5-4 win over the Angels

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First impressions from the Red Sox' 5-4 win over the Angels

First Impressions from the Boston Red Sox' 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels

* John Farrell faced a tough call with Steven Wright in the sixth.

Wright doesn't fare well in wet weather, as the Red Sox learned earlier this season when he tried to pitch in a steady rain against Houston. With a downpour, Wright wasn't able to grip his signature knuckler, and the results showed.

In the fifth and into the sixth, the rain was picking up. By the start of the sixth, the rain intensified, and Wright began to struggle. He allowed a leadoff double to Albert Pujols, hit Jefry Marte and walked Daniel Nava to load the bases.

Farrell had Matt Barnes warming, but the manager was clearly trying to get his starter through the sixth and limit the bullpen workload, having gone to the pen in the third inning Monday and the seventh inning Wednesday.

The move backfired when C.J. Cron hit a grand slam. Wright has been terrific this season, but his inability to pitch when there's any rain at all creates a unique challenge for his manager.

* Brock Holt made his presence felt right away.

Holt missed more than a month with a concussion, and admitted before Friday's game that he still wasn't 100 percent recovered.

But that hardly seemed the case Friday night. In the field, Holt fielded a line drive in the corer by C.J. Cron and fired a strike to second, cutting down Cron attempting to stretch a single into a double.

At the plate, meanwhile, Holt clubbed two doubles to left.

Holt used that same inside-out swing both times to take pitches the other way, expertly using the Wall and Fenway to his advantage.

For the past week, the Red Sox were shuffling a few outfielders, none of whom had had much experience -- or success -- at the big league level. Even if he's not 100 percent and can't be counted on every day yet, Holt could provide a nice jolt to the bottom third of the order.

* Ortiz continues to pile up records.

His solo homer in the fifth - a line shot that curled past the right field foul pole, into the box seats -- was No. 522 of his career. That enabled Ortiz to move past three Hall of Famers: Willie McCovey, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams -- with one swing.

Ortiz had been tied with the trio in 19th place for most career homers.

The homer also marked his 2,000th hit with the Red Sox. He became the seventh player to amass 2,000 hits in a Red Sox uniform. The others: Williams,  Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, Bobby Doerr and Wade Boggs.

Sean McAdam can be followed on Twitter: @Sean_McAdam