Kevin Youkilis Says He’s ‘Not Dead’ Despite Trade Talk, Notes Communication Error with Bobby Valentine

Kevin Youkilis Says He's 'Not Dead' Despite Trade Talk, Notes Communication Error with Bobby ValentineBOSTON — The trade chatter around Kevin Youkilis is growing louder.

Shortly after Friday's game against the Braves, reports circulated and claimed the Red Sox were nearing closer to trading the third baseman. The White Sox and Pirates were considered possible suitors.

After guiding the Red Sox to two championships in nine seasons, Youkilis' tenure could be ending. As he was peppered him with questions on his career in Boston, the 33-year-old offered a witty reminder.

"I'm still here," Youkilis said. "I'm not dead."

With rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks flourishing for the Red Sox, Youkilis has become expendable. As Youkilis sits for his third straight game, he's accepted the reality of the situation.

"I'm a paid employee here," Youkilis said. "They make the decisions with that. When you're a paid employee and the boss tells you to do something, you do it. Until they tell me something, I'm here to play with the Red Sox."

On Friday, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine divulged his plan to ride the "hot hand" at third. It was a subtle indication that Middlebrooks would be starting for now, considering he's gone 7-for-11 with two homers and six RBIs in his last three games.

While making those comments, Valentine said he spoke with Youkilis about his approach with playing time moving forward. A day later, though, the veteran infielder denied his skipper's story.

"There was no conversation," Youkilis said. "And I'll leave it at that. I don't want to start up anything. There was no conversation. That was it. It has been addressed."

When Valentine was made aware of the veteran's contradiction, he attempted to clarify his comments.

"I'm not going there, I thought the question on [Friday] was whether he was spoken to before the game, before the lineup when I came up here," Valentine said. "I said 'Yes'. I didn't speak to him, I thought he was spoken to. If he wasn't spoken to or he didn't understand, I made a mistake. Somehow, in life we all make mistakes."

Despite the discrepancy, Youkilis plans to maintain his routine. Before Saturday's game against the Braves, he took early batting practice in an attempt to sharpen up his swing and continue to make adjustments.

Have a question for Didier Morais? Send it to him via Twitter at @DidierMorais or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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