A healthy Kevin Youkilis wants a Gold Glove at 3B
|02.15.11 at 10:00 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — If Kevin Youkilis fields third base the way he fielded questions for 20 minutes Tuesday morning inside the Red Sox minor league complex, he’ll have no problem achieving one of his goals in 2011 – a Gold Glove at third base to match his one already on the mantle for first base.
He touched on several topics, his surgically repaired right thumb, missing Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre, Albert Pujols eventually getting his money, making the move to becoming a full-time third baseman and his distaste for talking to opponents when he played first base.
Youkilis pronounced himself fully healthy and ready for the next challenge of his career. The veteran infielder, who won the American League Gold Glove at first base in 2007, is looking for the same honor at third base this season.
“As long as I’m not making mental errors, that’s the key,” Youkilis said. “It’d be cool if I could play just as well at third base and try to win a Gold Glove. There’s a lot of great third basemen out there. It’d be cool. If I could play at a high level and win a Gold Glove at third base and first base, that’d be awesome.
“But, for me, I’m not worried about the accolades. I’m just worried about making the routine plays and trying to make a couple of great plays here and there to get our pitchers out of some jams.”
Francona said he has no doubt that Youkilis will make a smooth transition to third, where he was an All-American while at the University of Cincinnati.
“I think he’s always viewed himself as a third baseman,” Francona said. “A couple years there he thought he was Happy Gilmore.”
Youkilis, who said his right thumb is 100 percent after a winter of conditioning and strengthening, said he will have no problem moving back to third base on a full time basis since he filled in the injured Mike Lowell several times last season.
“I’ve been a third baseman all my life, played third base at the major league level quite a few times and played over there when Mike Lowell was hurt,” Youkilis added. “I feel great. Body feeling’s good. The hand is feeling good. Just got in good shape like normal. Just ready to go out and play third base this year. There are no restrictions. All the good stuff that comes with baseball I can do.”
Something Youkilis doesn’t consider good stuff is trying to be a social director at first base. In other words, he’s no Sean Casey.
“It’s just not interesting,” Youkilis said. “It’s fun sometimes if you have guys you know and you’ve played against. There’s some guys you might not care for too much. You get to know people over there, too. You get to understand people a lot more. But the social scene over there, I can do without. I’ve never been a social-scene kind of guy.
“It’s not fun. You want no-hitters and perfect games thrown where you don’t have to cover the base, but that’s not possible all the time. For me, I’ll leave it to Sean Casey, Jim Thome, guys that are really good over there. Kevin Millar. I’ll leave it to them to master that.’
As for Pujols, who has a Wednesday deadline for the Cardinals to get an extension done, Youkilis is pretty sure that he’ll be taken care of somewhere.
“I think he’ll be happy somewhere, getting paid a lot of money,” Youkilis said. “If he wants to come to the AL East and face some of this pitching, he can come.”
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