Bobby Valentine questions Kevin Youkilis’ commitment; Dustin Pedroia not happy
At some point this season, Bobby Valentine’s mouth will get him into trouble. Knowing what we know about Bobby V., there’s just no way he can go a full 162-game schedule without saying something he shouldn’t to the media or his team. His first slip-up may have come before Boston’s game against the Rays on Sunday, when he questioned Kevin Youkilis’ level of commitment in the wake of Youk’s slow start at the plate.
“I don’t think he’s as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason,” on WHDH-TV’s SportsXTra according to ESPNBoston.com. “But (on Saturday) it seemed, you know, he’s seeing the ball well, got those two walks, got his on-base percentage up higher than his batting average, which is always a good thing, and he’ll move on from there.”
The comments did not sit well with Youkilis, who is hitting only .200 to start the season but looked better over the weekend. In the past, it has been said that Youk needs to learn to channel his emotions and he even once got into an argument with Manny Ramirez because Manny basically said he was sick of Youkilis caring too much.
“Everyone here knows I go out and play with emotion,” Youkilis told reporters at Fenway Park Monday morning. “The only time there has ever been a question is because I’ve been too emotional.”
But no response was more telling than the one Dustin Pedroia gave. As expected, the Red Sox second baseman defended his teammate.
“I really don’t know what Bobby is trying to do,” Pedroia said. “That’s not the way we go about our stuff around here. He’ll figure that out. The whole team is behind Youk. We have each other’s backs here. Maybe that works in Japan.”
Pedroia’s comments sound like something a manager would say about a player, not the other way around. When Curt Schilling claimed a couple of weeks ago that the relationship between Bobby V. and the Red Sox players is not going well, many of us chalked it up to Curt being Curt. Based on what Dustin said, I’d say it’s a lot more than that.
Valentine’s comments about Youkilis were out of line, but Pedroia’s response shows that Bobby V. has not earned the respect of the Red Sox players. Pedroia would have never spoken about Terry Francona that way, regardless of what Francona said to the media. You have to wonder why Valentine would say something like that when the team is finally starting to click. Then again, we all know who we’re dealing with.
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