After Sunday's victory over the Rays, the Red Sox skipper called Kevin Youkilis' physical and mental commitment into question during an interview with WHDH.
The sequence caught Youkilis by surprise. Moments before heading to bed on Sunday night, the third baseman received a phone call from his agent Joe Bick to inform him of the looming firestorm.
A day later, the 33-year-old was still stunned by the polarizing comment.
"I'm confused about that," Youkilis said. "For me, personally, everyone around here knows that I go out here and play with emotion. The only time my emotion has ever been questioned is because I’ve been too emotional about stuff. That’s just how it is."
But Valentine provided context for the question. During the interview, the Red Sox manager said he was specifically asked why Youkilis was playing "un-Youk like" with a .200 batting average and three RBIs through eight games.
In the midst of the backlash, Valentine acknowledged that he could have offered a stronger explanation. But he insisted that his blunt response concerning Youkilis wasn’t to needle him.
"Wasn't meant to motivate," the skipper said. "That's not the way it's done."
From Valentine's perspective, Youkilis was struggling with his swing and it snowballed into a mental block.
"Frustration leads to emotion," Valentine said. "I haven't seen him break as many helmets as I saw him break on TV so, you know, it just seemed different. At the end of the thing, I said I don't know what the reason [for his struggles are] because I haven't been here long enough.”
In an attempt to address the ongoing situation, Ben Cherington was seen walking into Valentine's office. Shortly after the discussion, the Sox general manager ambled up to Youkilis and whispered a few words before leaving.
Beforehand, Youkilis and Valentine convened about the controversy. Despite offering an apology to the third baseman, Valentine wasn't completely convinced that he had smoothed it over.
"I don't know if he accepted my apology," Valentine said. "It was very sincere."