Youkilis: 'I haven't been told anything'

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Youkilis: 'I haven't been told anything'

BOSTON Kevin Youkilis is out of the Red Sox starting lineup for the third straight game, as trade rumors continue to swirl around him, and as Will Middlebrooks continues to perform.

I have no thoughts on anything, Youkilis said in the Sox clubhouse before Saturdays game against the Braves. I havent been told anything so until Im told anything I can't really respond.

You want to play. I definitely want to play. You want to play the game, you want to enjoy it and you want to have fun. I dont know my situation. I never was told whats going on here. Lets put that straight. And Ill leave it at that. I dont want to start up anything. There was no conversation. That was it. but it has been addressed.

The statement is contrary to what manager Bobby Valentine indicated on Friday, when he said the situation had been addressed with Youkilis.

Before the lineup was put up? Thats true, Valentine said Saturday.

Asked when he specifically had that conversation with Youkilis, Valentine replied:

Im not going to go there. Because I dont want to pull out date books and all that kind of stuff.

But Valentine stressed there was a conversation with Youkilis on Friday.

I did yesterday, but not before the lineup was up, Valentine said. But Im not going there. I thought the question yesterday was whether he was spoken to before the game, before the lineup when I came up here to speak with the media and I said yes. I didnt speak to him. I thought he was spoken to. If he wasnt spoken to and he didnt understand, I made a mistake. And you know, somehow in life we all make mistakes. But I thought he was spoken to.

Valentine also said Friday he would play the hot hand. In this case it is Middlebrooks at third base.

Im just trying to play the people that I want to be in the lineup, Valentine said. I think thats one of the things Im allowed to do.

Valentine acknowledged it has not been easy managing the YoukilisMiddlebrooks situation.

And difficult and stressful, all those things, Valentine said.

Baseballs an interesting game and a lot of things are happening and happen in baseball that you have to adjust to. So Im trying to adjust to everything thats happening.

Red Sox can't rally against Rays after Chris Archer's start

Red Sox can't rally against Rays after Chris Archer's start

The appearance of Tampa Bay Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough almost got the Boston Red Sox back in their spring training exhibition game. The Sox managed to score all three of their runs against the 25-year-old in their 7-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida on Sunday.

But the Rays, who scored runs in five different innings, managed to widen their lead in the eighth inning by beating up on Sox lefty Luis Isla, a 24-year-old who spent last season with Portland and Pawtucket. In the eighth, Rays' Joe McCarthy homered and Luke Maile managed an RBI single, which cappped off the scoring in the contest. Sox starter Hector Velazquez allowed three hits and an earned run in his two innnings. The 28-year-old, who spent 2016 in the Mexican League, still managed to amass four strikeouts.

"I was a little nervous at the start, being in the United States for the first time and playing for a big league club for the first time," Velazquez told RedSox.com through an interpreter. "But once I got the first out, all the nerves went away, and I was able to bear down."

Despite allowing two homers, Boston pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts.

With the exception of the Sox' inning against Yarbrough, Boston's veterans and prospects struggled mighltily against the Rays pitching staff. Chris Archer started for Tampa, and set the tone in the first two innings, where he threw two strikeouts, one walk and allowed one hit and no runs. Andrew Benintendi (0-for-3), Sam Travis (0-for-2) and Bryce Brentz (0-for-3) went hitless on the day. Travis, however, reached base on balls.

"I felt good. I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish," Archer said, via the Red Sox' team website. "Just out there having fun, it was really fun to be out there in the spectrum with the umpire, the fans, the batter. It was fun."

Marco Hernandez's triple got the Sox' eighth-inning off to a strong start, and singles from Matt Dominguez, Deven Marrero, Rusney Castillo and Cole Sturgeon followed. The Sox' eighth inning scoring ended after Castillo got thrown out by left fielder McCarthy at third. Six Red Sox finished with one-hit outings, including Brock Holt and Blake Swihart.

The Sox will next host the St. Louis Cardinals in Fort Myers on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET.