This season hasn't had many highlights for Kevin Youkilis, but he finished his Boston career on a high note Sunday.
Youkilis is headed to the Chicago White Sox, CBSSports.com Insider Jon Heyman reports, but he finished his career with the Red Sox on an RBI triple in the seventh inning of the team's 9-4 victory over the Braves at Fenway Park.
General manager Ben Cherington had already told manager Bobby Valentine that there was a "situation pending" with Valentine when Youkilis came to the plate with two outs and Adrian Gonzalez in the seventh inning. Youkilis hit a 2-1 pitch to right-center field between Atlanta's Jason Heyward and a diving Michael Bourn. Youkilis was husting around first when the ball dropped in and then saw the ball bounce off Bourn's foot, away from Heyward and he went to third for an RBI triple.
Valentine lifted Youkilis for Nick Punto and Youkilis hugged Punto and then was greeted by teammates at the top of the steps of the Red Sox dugout. More hugs followed, before Youkilis was called out for a curtain call.
“It worked out perfectly,” Valentine said (via the Boston Herald). “A minute before he was going to the batter's box, Ben called me down to the runway and said, ‘There's a sitation pending.' We said, ‘OK, we'll do it the right way.' Someone was looking down because that's the right way.”
Youkilis wasn't around to talk to the media after the game, but his teammates said they were sad to see him go. Punto said Youkilis is one of the reasons he ended up with the Red Sox. Youkilis hugged Punto as he left the field.
"I think it was just instincts. When they call you off the field like that it's usually something," Punto said (via WEEI.com). "We've been friends a long time, probably 10 years. I know how much blood, sweat and tears he has thrown into this organization. I think for me it's kind of a goodbye. We haven't been teammates, but we've been friends for a long time. I think for the sake of baseball, it's always sad to see someone go like that.
"After he got that ovation in the first inning we were sitting next to each other and he goes, 'Man, it was hard to hit after that. That felt pretty good.' He hasn't been feeling too great about himself this season. But not too many Boston Red Sox players have two world championships. He was a heck of a player for this organization."