While Boston Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis is spending Saturday afternoon watching his alma mater, the University of Cincinnati, close out its football season versus Pittsburgh, he’ll spend the remainder of the offseason preparing to play third base for the Sox.
Because it appears the Red Sox have a new first baseman in Adrian Gonzalez.
Youkilis first heard the news while tailgating at Nippert Stadium, and he was quite pleased with the transaction.
“It’s great,” Youkilis said. “The way he hits at PETCO [Park], he can hit at Fenway Park because he can use the [left field] wall to his advantage. It’s going to be great to have him on the team. That’ll be a huge acquisition for us if everything works out.”
The left-handed hitting Gonzalez is reportedly in Boston for a physical.
If deal is finalized, that means Youkilis will go from finally being Boston's full-time first baseman, to the club’s everyday third baseman.
“I’m not worried about that,” he said. “I just have to work hard like I always do and focus on playing third and not first. There’s a lot of time at spring training to do all that. I’ll prepare myself the right way to play as many games as I can at third base.”
In 558 games on the right side of the infield, Youkilis has posted a .298 batting average with 78 homers and 340 RBIs. While playing the left side of the infield, he’s hit .296 with 33 homers and 127 RBIs in 205 games at third.
With Gonzalez in the mix, it ends any chance of Adrian Beltre coming back.
“It stinks, too, because we’re losing Adrian,” Youkilis said. “For the team, having either one of those guys would be a good thing.”
It’s only December and there’s work still to be done for Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, but on paper, Youkilis really likes what he sees.
“Our whole thing is always pitching,” he said. “If our pitching holds up, and we throw the ball well, we’re going to win games. We have plenty of offense. We won games [last season] with a lot of guys injured, so if our pitching holds up and our big dogs go out there and throw the ball well like they can, we’ll be fine. We’ll win a lot of games.”