Bobby Valentine Youkilis, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine questioned Kevin Youkilis’ commitment to the game in his weekly television interview, then apologized to the Boston third baseman on Monday.
During an interview aired Sunday night on WHDH-TV, Valentine said he didn’t think Youkilis was “as physically or emotionally into the game.”
On Monday morning, Valentine said he apologized when Youkilis came into his office and asked for an explanation.
“I don’t know if he accepted my apology,” Valentine said. “It was sincere.”
Youkilis had a poor spring training and is batting .200 (6 for 30), but Valentine said his comments weren’t aimed at motivating him. After a 2-for-20 start, he was 4 for 10 in the first three games against the Tampa Bay Rays before not starting Monday’s series finale because of a minor groin injury.
“I’m more confused than anything,” Youkilis said. “Everybody knows I go out and play the game as hard as I can.”
If Valentine’s intent was to have Youkilis’ teammates rally around him, it may have worked.
“I know he plays as hard as anybody I’ve ever seen in my life. I have his back and his teammates have his back,” Dustin Pedroia said. “I really don’t know what Bobby’s trying to do, but that’s not the way we go about our stuff around here. He’ll figure that out. The whole team is behind Youk.”
Asked if Valentine was trying to motivate Youkilis, Pedroia said, “maybe that works in Japan” – where Valentine used to manage.