Trade changes Youkilis’ Sox from Red to White
Kevin Youkilis took off his batting helmet, waved to the Boston crowd and blew a kiss to his adoring fans.
A favorite at Fenway Park for so long, he wanted a final chance to say so long.
The Red Sox traded away the hard-nosed Youkilis on Sunday, sending the three-time All-Star infielder and cash to the Chicago White Sox for utilityman Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart.
“(Red Sox manager) Bobby (Valentine) wanted him to have that moment of walking off the field,” Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said.
A member of Boston teams that won the World Series in 2004 and 2007, the 33-year-old Youkilis has been at odds with his first-year manager this season, and had seen his playing time drastically cut lately. He now joins the AL Central-leading White Sox, who were in need of a regular third baseman.
“I just got off the phone with him, he’s very excited to join our club and he’s got a little edge to him that I like,” White Sox general manager Kenny Williams said. “I can’t tell you exactly what he said, but he wants to come in and prove some people wrong.”
Youkilis had a rousing end to his days with the Red Sox. He was unavailable after the game, leaving behind a locker without his nameplate above it.
After hitting an RBI triple in the seventh inning of a 9-4 win over the Atlanta Braves, he was lifted for a pinch runner. Longtime pal Nick Punto came out to replace him and the pair hugged.
Youkilis saluted the crowd and was rewarded with a standing ovation. His teammates, coaches and Valentine all were on the top step of the dugout cheering for him, and they urged Youkilis to take a curtain call.
Youkilis’ time in Boston became limited because of the play of rookie Will Middlebrooks, hitting .326 with nine homers and 34 RBI in 41 games.
The Fenway faithful should get to see Youkilis soon. The White Sox visit Boston a week after next month’s All-Star Game.
PADRES COACH DIES
San Diego Padres bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds, who pitched for five seasons in the major leagues after being drafted with a No. 7 overall pick by Seattle in 1983, died Sunday of pancreatic cancer. He was 50.
Akerfelds had been bullpen coach for San Diego since June 2001.
He was diagnosed with cancer in December 2010. Last season, Akerfelds attended 148 of the 162, games despite undergoing chemotherapy. He was still with the team in the early part of this season before he stopped coming to the ballpark.
A Denver native, Akerfelds appeared in 125 major league games. He was 9-10 with 5.08 ERA pitching for Oakland, Cleveland, Texas and Philadelphia.
The Rangers surpassed 1.5 million in attendance with their franchise-record 22nd sellout of the season Sunday. … The Diamondbacks agreed to terms with primary set-up man David Hernandez on a two-year contract. … Mets closer Frank Francisco was put on the 15-day disabled list (strained muscle). … The Red Sox put pitcher Clay Buchholz on the DL (gastrointestinal issue).