Mere hours after helping the Boston Red Sox defeat the Atlanta Braves at Fenway Park, third baseman Kevin Youkilis was traded to the Chicago White Sox for prospect Zach Stewart and utilityman Brent Lillibridge, per US Today:
At Fenway Park on Sunday, Youkilis tipped his cap, blew kisses and shed a few tears to a crowd that was giving him a standing ovation after he was removed for pinch runner Nick Punto in the seventh inning of Sunday’s 9-4 win over Atlanta. He was mobbed by teammates and even pushed out of the dugout for a curtain call by Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine.
Valentine said after the game that he was told by general manager Ben Cherington just before Youkilis’ final at-bat to take Youkilis out of the game. Valentine said he couldn’t offer any more specifics.
When reporters entered the clubhouse after the game, the nameplate was gone from Youkilis’ locker had been cleaned out.
Youkilis, 33 and one of the more popular Red Sox players in recent memory, had been slumping this season while dealing with injuries and apparently a shaky relationship with new manager Bobby Valentine. Youkilis is hitting .233 with just 4 home runs and 14 rbi’s in 42 games this season. Youklilis virtually lost his starting 3B spot to rookie Will Middlebrooks who is off to a hot start, batting .326 with 9 home runs and 34 RBI’s in 41 games.
Lillibridge gives the Red Sox an infielder capable of playing multiple positions but not much offensively. The Red Sox will also pick up $5.5 million of the $6.6 million Youkilis is owed for the 2012 season. Youkilis has a $13 team option for 2013 with a $1 million buy out. For his career, Youkilis has hit .287 with 133 home runs and 564 rbi’s in nine seasons and was a 3-time all-star with the Red Sox. He won a Gold Glove in 2007 and was third in MVP voting in 2008.