BOSTON Brent Lillibridge, who arrived in Boston early this afternoon, was in the Red Sox clubhouse before the start of the series against the Blue Jays, wearing uniform No. 23, occupying Kevin Youkilis former locker.
Im excited, said Lillibridge. Kind of have to just turn the page pretty quick in this game. Excited to be part of this team, obviously, an historic franchise. Its going to be a lot of fun.
Lillibridge was part of the trade that brought him and right-hander Zach Stewart from the White Sox in exchange for Kevin Youkilis.
Like Youkilis, Lillibridge learned of the trade during his game.
Going into the day obviously we knew there was a good chance the White Sox were going to acquire Youk, he said. We didnt really know how it was going to be coming togetheR . . . And I didnt expect to be part of that.
You never know when its going to happen or expect it at all but White Sox manager Robin Ventura pulled me aside on the bench and I was going to hit in the 10th . . . He said, 'I got to sit you. I thought I did something wrong or something. But in the end, it was just, Youre going to be part of a trade. I dont know everything about it, but just go in upstairs, relax, and GM Kenny Williams will talk to you about it and give you the heads up. So it was a shock right way. But its amazing what one day does. Im here wearing red instead of black and ready to go, meeting new guys and seeing some familiar faces, ready to get after it.
Lillibridge grew up in the Seattle area but his paternal grandfather lived in Rhode Island, passing his love of the Red Sox on to Lillibridges father. So, his dad is excited about his new team, he said.
Lillibridge was a fourth-round pick of the Pirates in 2005. He made his big league debut with the Braves in 2008 and has played for the White Sox for parts of the last four seasons.
He was acquired as a utility player. He has played every position except pitcher and catcher in his five-year big league career.
I think Ive been in the big leagues as long as I have is just being able to play, outfield, infield, all that stuff, he said of his versatility. So I feel like it can help get me in the lineup here too. SoI dont really have any expectations other than just being a part of this team and helping us try to win and moving on past the White Sox.
By 4:30, manager Bobby Valentine had still not had a chance to meet his latest acquisition.
Id like to meet him. thats my first plan, Valentine said. I keep dodging him. And get to know him. I watched some film early this afternoon. Ive seen his statistics. He looks like he can be a real contributing factor on a winning team.
Asked to describe his style of play, Lillibridge replied:
Id say high energy. The big thing is just trying to do something right every single game to help the team out. So thats all Im worried about and playing the game hard, which I think all of us really do. Its kind of clich sometimes. But just playing when I get in there to work really hard and prepare myself to be ready to play every day and go from there. Always excited. I love playingthis game and I want to play for a long time. Hopefully its a long time with the Boston Red Sox.
A scout who is familiar with Lillibridge offered this assessment:
He can help them in a number of ways; infield, outfield, all three outfield positions. Second base will be his best infield position. He cant go to shortstop too often. Hell probably be in the outfield more often. Hes a solid baserunner. He does a lot of things to help but he cant play too much or hell get overexposed. Hell be great in the clubhouse. Hes a professional guy. He knows what a utility guy is all about.