Francona: Youkilis felt like Happy Gilmore

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Francona: Youkilis felt like Happy Gilmore

After making short return visits, Kevin Youkilis is finally moving back to his baseball home, his first love -- third base.

"He kind of refers to himself as Happy Gilmore," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona, citing the fictional movie character who loved hockey but was better at golf. "He thought he was out of position at first, but for him to be able to bounce from third to first back to third, we wouldn't be able to get an Adrian Gonzalez if we couldn't move Youk."

A two-time All-Star, Youkilis spent the last five seasons mostly at first base, accommodated by the presence of Mike Lowell and Adrian Beltre. With the off-season acquisition of slugging first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Youkilis is shifting across the diamond.

It's not simply that he's able to make the transition, though; he's excited to get reacquainted with third base.

"For me, I think it's just going out there and doing what I did to get to the Major Leagues; I was a third baseman the whole time," said Youkilis, who climbed Boston's farm system as a third baseman. "It will be fun. It will actually be a lot more excitement for me, because I love playing third base."

He has seen spot action at third in recent years, but he is now preparing his body for the rigors of a full season at the hot corner.

"I've been doing some good things with our strength program and getting my shoulder as strong as possible so it will last me the whole year," said Youkilis. "I pretty much know how to turn it on and off, like taking less ground balls in Spring Training and not throwing as much."

Red Sox avoid arbitration with Bogaerts, Holt with 1-year deals

Red Sox avoid arbitration with Bogaerts, Holt with 1-year deals

Facing a 1 p.m. Friday deadline to avoid arbitration, the Red Sox reportedly agreed to a one-year, $3.6 million deal with center field Jackie Bradley Jr., and also avoided hearings with six other players.

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, utilityman Brock Holt, pitchers Joe Kelly, Robbie Ross Jr., Tyler Thornburgh and catcher Sandy Leon also agreed to one-year deals.

Terms of the deals were not announced.

It leaves left-handers Fernando Abad and Drew Pomeranz as the only arbitration-eligible Red Sox without a deal.  

Report: Bradley Jr. avoids arbitration, agrees to 1-year, $3.6M deal with Red Sox

Report: Bradley Jr. avoids arbitration, agrees to 1-year, $3.6M deal with Red Sox

Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year, $3.6 million deal with the team, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported.

Bradley, who turns 27 April 19, had his best season in 2016, hitting .267 with 26 homers and a league-best 29-game hitting streak. He also won his first Gold Glove. A Scott Boras client, Bradley isn’t eligible for free agency until 2020. 
 
Friday at 1 p.m. was the deadline to reach deals to avoid arbitration. 

Other arbitration-eligible Red Sox are infielders Xander Bogaerts and Brock Holt, left-handers Drew Pomeranz and Fernando Abad, right-handers Joe Kelly, Robbie Ross and Tyler Thornburg and catcher Sandy Leon.