KANSAS CITY -- Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine continued his public feud with Kevin Youkilis on Sunday, a day before the third baseman returns to Fenway Park.
Valentine made comments on the eve of Youkilis return to Boston suggesting that the White Sox third baseman -- hitting .316 with three home runs and 15 RBIs since he was acquired on June 24 -- didnt make any attempts to salvage their relationship.
Youkilis, however, wouldnt comment on his public spat with Valentine, who in April questioned the veterans desire to play. Since his arrival, Youkilis has refused to make any public remarks about Valentine, only noting he wants to prove those who believe his better days are over incorrect.
I got nothing about any of that stuff, Youkilis said. Im over all the Boston thing this year. Theres a lot of great past history, but this year Im focused on the White Sox.
But Youkilis said he does appreciate Red Sox fans and he backed it as he wrote an open letter to the fan base on Sunday on ESPN Bostons web site. Youkilis received a standing ovation from fans after he was pulled early from the game on June 24 and hopes to elicit a positive reaction tomorrow. He also is realistic about how long the warm reception will last.
After the first day, they dont want me to do well playing against your team, Youkilis said. So you never know what you are going to get. I think it will be a good reception.
Manager Robin Ventura expects Youkilis will experience an array of emotions when he returns to his former home of nine seasons. He also knows hell get a boatload of attention from the local media.
He deserves it because he was a great player there, Ventura said. In other ways, you wish he could play and not have to deal with it. But hell be fine. Hes had to deal with it a lot. Hopefully its fun for him to be able to go back and fans can show a little appreciation for what he did there. I think for him there is (some emotion to deal with). Even for me, my first couple years we had Carlton Fisk and it was 10 years later, and it was still a big deal every time he went back. Its just having passionate fans and a big city that has one team.
Youkilis knows hell likely be flooded with memories when he returns. But he reiterated that he has moved on and is glad to have the White Sox pennant chase as a distraction.
All the memories I have and the stories are from there, Youkilis said. But the thing for me is, Im making my own story with this team, new stories and a new beginning. It will be a different feeling, different dugout and all that stuff. Different emotions, but you have to bear down and really focus. I think once the game starts, thats all you really play for.