Before Sunday’s game against the Rays, Valentine was asked about the White Sox third baseman, who will be making his return to Fenway Park on Monday after being dealt from Boston on June 24.
Valentine said Youkilis has harbored ill will against him since April, when Valentine publicly called Youkilis’ physical and mental commitment into question.
“The comment I made early, he made a big deal out of,” Valentine told reporters in St. Petersburg. “And I don’t think he ever wanted to get over it.”
While Valentine eventually apologized, the relationship between the pair was seemingly unsalvageable. It worsened in June, when Valentine started allocating more playing time to rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks.
In the days leading up to the trade last month, Valentine elected to ride the “hot hand,” which meant benching Youkilis. Valentine insisted on Sunday that he explained the situation to Youkilis.
But the third baseman refuted the notion.
“There was no conversation,” Youkilis had said then. “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.”
Valentine’s comments should make for an interesting pregame session with Youkilis on Monday.
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