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Remembering Greg Montalbano

08.22.09 at 9:57 pm ET

There’s no better way Kevin Youkilis could have paid tribute to his former minor league teammate and friend Greg Montalbano, who lost his battle with cancer on Saturday at the age of 31.

Youkilis played with the 1999 fifth round pick of the Red Sox as the two played in the organization in the early part of this decade.

On Saturday, Youkilis — who had written the initials GM on his cap — matched a career high by driving in six runs and homering twice in a 14-1 rout of the Yankees at Fenway. And he was thinking of the left-handed pitcher immediately following his first homer in the second inning off A.J. Burnett.

“When I pointed to the sky to him when I went to the dugout, that was for him,” Youkilis said. “That’s one of those things. There are some crazy things that have happened in my life where you always feel there’s somebody out there pushing balls out and doing great things for you.”

Before the game, the Red Sox held a moment of silence for Montalbano. Meanwhile, 1,500 miles south of Fenway, another of Montalbano’s former teammates, Tampa Bay’s Carlos Pena, had a similar moment and that wasn’t lost on Youkilis after Saturday’s game.

“Carlos Pena hit a home run and he had a sign, ‘That was for you, Monty.’ It’s an unbelievable feeling, two guys that played with him and we both hit home runs today,” Youkilis said of Pena, who played with Montalbano at Northeastern University, and went 3-for-4 with two homers and a walkoff single for the Rays on Saturday. “It was a great thing. After I hit my first one, I just thought that was for him.

“It’s a good feeling to know that, for the Montalbano family going through some hard times right now, there’s a lot of guys that are there for them.”

Of course, there was also the matter of business on Saturday and that meant dealing with a Yankee team that beat them in a 20-11 slugfest the night before.

“I think on both teams, New York and here, you’re going to have the same thing. Good teams let things go quickly and they move on and play the next day. When you play 162 games in the regular season, you’re just trying to go onto the next day and trying to get everything situated and playing the game. And you don’t worry about what happened the night before and if you do, you find yourself going downhill quick.”

NOTE: Greg Montalbano was a guest with Dennis & Callahan during the 2008 Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon. CLICK HERE to listen to that entire interview.

Read More: Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox, Yankees Greg Montalbano,
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