With trade rumors swirling around Kevin Youkilis, Sox manager Bobby Valentine told WEEI's The Big Show that he had a recent conversation with the third baseman about it.
"Kevin and I basically talked about that yesterday and it's not an easy situation," Valentine said. "It is part of the baseball world. Every team every year basically every month of the season have some designated person where trade rumors swirl around and I feel for Kevin to have to be distracted by them. I feel for him to have to answer questions that no one is able to answer. Whether he's affected by them when he goes out on the field I really couldn't tell you, but I can tell you that his effort and his preparation and his desire is there every second of the day."
Valentine said that it was a "juggling act" to find spots for Youkilis, Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz and Will Middlebrooks, but the players have handled it well.
"If you have three spots for four players to fit into there's going to be somebody who's not going to play," Valentine said. "That's a pretty simple fact of the matter. The other guys have been great about it. I've talked to them and they totally understand what the situation is. Youk was in the other day and we talked about third base and first base and how you're going to keep the rhythm. He as well as Adrian, as well as David, and of course Will have all taken the company line and said hey.s whatever's best for the team. It's a tough juggling act, there's no doubt about that."
Valentine also said that Gonzales "seemed" to be healthy and that he expected him to bounce-back over the length of the season.
"If you're just reading the numbers then you have to believe in the numbers and feel at the end of the year they'll be the same as they always have been," Valentine said. "I think the large body of work will replicated what the large body of work has been in the past. At least I'm hoping that and Adrian believes that."
As for the umpires, Valentine said that it was his job to back up his players when calls go against them.
"I said, you can't question [the umpires] but once there is already a situation that is started, my job as manager is to protect my players and protect the rights of my team," he said. "If the group feels they're being unjustly judged then I have to be the one to step in and at times get thrown out of the game."
On pitcher Clay Buccholz, Valentine credited Dustin Pedroia with urging the pitcher to speed up his pace, which he feels has contributed to his success.
"He got the message," Valentine said. "It was out of exasperation that Pedey one inning of one his games just bursted out and the message was received and there was a conversation. He did pick it up. If a pitcher thinks long, he usually thinks wrong. Just look at the sign, see what it is and then throw it with conviction and boy he's doing that of late."
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