Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington on Friday denied a report the Red Sox were telling other teams they were "definitely" trading infielder Kevin Youkilis, calling it "inaccurate" in an email to WEEI.com.
"Some teams have checked in on him," Cherington wrote to WEEI.com. "We haven't told any teams we plan to trade him. It's our job to listen if teams have interest. He's swinging the bat well since coming off the DL and (is) a big part of our team and lineup."
CBSSports.com baseball writer Danny Knobler tweeted Friday morning that "the Red Sox are telling teams they definitely intend to trade Youkilis."
One baseball talent evaluator told ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes on Friday he was "certain" the Red Sox would love to move Youkilis (and especially his $12 million contract), but hadn't heard of any concrete trade discussions with a specific team. Youkilis has a $13 million team option for 2013.
The impetus to deal Youkilis comes from the development of rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who has six homers, 21 RBIs and is hitting .316 in 24 games since being promoted to the majors when Youkilis went on the disabled list with a back injury.
There are a number of teams that would have obvious interest in Youkilis, including the Cincinnati Reds, Arizona Diamondbacks, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers. From the time Youkilis went out on a rehab assignment, several teams are known to have already scouted him and continue to do so.
Since being activated May 22, Youkilis has a .313 average with two homers and a .903 OPS.
Scouts are expected to be in Toronto this weekend to continue to monitor his health and production. Manager Bobby Valentine said Thursday he did not expect to play Youkilis in all three games against the Blue Jays because of the artificial surface in the Rogers Centre.