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Bobby Valentine questions Kevin Youkilis's commitment, later apologizes

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer
Valentine and Youkilis

Seemingly, it should be a fine day in Boston. It's Patriot's Day, the weather is nice, and the Sox are going for a four-game sweep of the division-rival Rays. But manager Bobby Valentine, as is his wont, can't leave well enough alone.

Here's what Valentine, during an appearance on Boston's WHDH, had to sayabout third baseman Kevin Youkilisand his .498 OPS: "
I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Valentine said. "But [on Saturday] it seemed, you know, he's seeing the ball well, got those two walks, his on-base percentage up higher than his batting average, which is always a good thing, and he'll move on from there."

Read more at: http://www.nesn.com/2012/04/bobby-valentine-questions-kevin-youkilis-commitment-both-physically-and-emotionally.html
"I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Valentine said. "But [on Saturday] it seemed, you know, he's seeing the ball well, got those two walks, his on-base percentage up higher than his batting average, which is always a good thing, and he'll move on from there."

Read more at: http://www.nesn.com/2012/04/bobby-valentine-questions-kevin-youkilis-commitment-both-physically-and-emotionally.html
I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason. But [on Saturday] it seemed, you know, he's seeing the ball well, got those two walks, his on-base percentage up higher than his batting average, which is always a good thing, and he'll move on from there."

As you can see, Valentine softened that initial broadside in the second portion of the quote, but it's the first part -- the part in which he assails Youkilis's physical and emotional commitment to the game -- that's going to be with us for a while.

Maybe this is a calculated motivational technique on the part of Valentine, but it certainly looks, feels and smells like an all-too-candid moment brought out by the extemporaneous nature of talk radio.

Whatever Valentine's thought process (or lack thereof), Youkilis, who won't be in the lineup for the series finale against Tampa Bay, begs to differ with his conclusions. "Everyone here knows I go out and play with emotion," he told reporters Monday morning. "The only time there has ever been a question is because I've been too emotional."

The most revealing response, however, may have been Dustin Pedroia's: "I really don't know what Bobby is trying to do," Pedroia said. "That's not the way we go about our stuff around here. He'll figure that out. The whole team is behind Youk. We have each other's backs here."

After being asked whether Valentine's comments could serve to motivate, Pedroia said, "Maybe in Japan or something."

For Valetine's part, he's come around and apologized personally to Youkilis. "I don't know if he accepted my apology," Valentine said. "It was sincere."

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