DETROIT -- Last season, Kevin Youkilis played in Boston's first 18 games before missing a game, the only one he missed in the team's 26 games in April.
On Sunday, the third game of the season, Youkilis was out of the lineup, with Nick Punto playing third base in his place.
"I go every day thinking I'm in the lineup even if I'm not because that's the mindset you have to have playing this game,'' Youkilis said, "because you could be inserted in the second inning.''
Was he surprised that he's sitting?
"The way they run the team and all that, I’m here as a player,'' Youkilis said. "I come to games every day. Whatever they want me to do I'm going to do. If it's sitting one day, I sit. If it's playing a doubleheader, I'm playing a doubleheader.
"There's going to be a lot of stuff in 162 games you're going to be asked to do something. Today is just a day where I'm not in the lineup. That doesn’t mean I'm not getting in the game.''
Youkilis does not have a hit in the season's first two games, one of four Sox regulars hitless in that span. Cody Ross (0-for-8), Mike Aviles (0-for-6) and Jacoby Ellsbury (0-for-7) are the others. Youkilis batted .195 (8-for-41) in spring training, which normally might mean little but with Youkilis having hip issues and undergoing surgery for a sports hernia last September could be a red flag.
"There's stuff I'm working on, but I feel like myself,'' Youkilis said. "It's just about having a good approach and good at-bats. It's one of those things. There are lot of guys in baseball -- I think Hanley Ramirez had two bad games; I think he’s going to do pretty good.
"There's definitely a plan to win. Sometimes you're in there, sometimes you're not. You can't be upset with it. You've got to be a good teammate, go out there, and at some point you may get in the game.''
Youkilis learned that he wasn't playing when he arrived at the ballpark Sunday morning. Terry Francona's practice as Sox manager was to tell players the day before if they were playing.
"Sometimes you'd be told sometimes you weren’t,'' Youkilis said. "I don’t think that matters either way if I was told or if I wasn’t.''