White Sox leading Youkilis sweepstakes?

BOSTON -- The scouts in attendance for Friday night's game against the Atlanta Braves said there was little chatter about Kevin Youkilis, the Red Sox infielder who learned Friday that his playing time will be circumscribed by the emergence of rookie Will Middlebrooks.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have two scouts here and, with a possible surplus in pitching, would make a potential trading partner. But it appears the Pirates have little interest in Youkilis; their focus might be on a Sox outfielder, especially with the Red Sox possibly having extra bodies if both Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford come back. That, of course, is still weeks away.

One major league official on Friday suggested renewed interest in Youkilis on the part of the Chicago White Sox, who are using a converted second baseman, Orlando Hudson, at third base. After Chicago's Friday loss against the Brewers, Hudson was batting just .160 (13-for-81) and was 1-for-20 (.059) in his past seven games.

The White Sox have had scouts in to see Youkilis and, according to one source, liked him enough that they would take him if the Red Sox absorbed most of his remaining salary. Other scouts have been far less impressed, with Youkilis batting just .225 BA/.311 OBP/.359 SLG in 42 games.

Chicago has gone just 5-11 since reaching its high-water mark of eight games over .500 (31-23). On Monday it fell out of first place, trailing the Cleveland Indians. The White Sox have just a .693 OPS in June.