Kevin Youkilis wasn’t kidding about heading west.
Youkilis, who previously expressed a desire to play on the West Coast, is zooming right past California and going to Japan, according to multiple reports. Youkilis will reportedly join the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan’s Pacific League on a one-year deal.
Nikkan Sports first reported the news Friday, and it has since been confirmed by multiple outlets, including CBSSports.com. Youkilis’ agent, Joe Bick of Pro Star Management, Inc., told MLB Trade Rumors that his client decided that playing in Japan was a “life experience that was too good to pass up.” Youkilis reportedly will be joined by his wife and children in Japan, which was a major factor both in his desire to play out west and in his eventual decision.
Youkilis joined the Yankees on a one-year, $12 million contract last offseason, but only played in 28 games because of back injuries. He hit just .219 (23-for-105) with two homers and eight RBIs with the Bronx Bombers, leaving questions about his big league future.
Youkilis will turn 35 in January. He heads to Japan on the heels of 10 major league seasons, nine of which he spent in Boston. Youkilis has three All-Star selections and a Gold Glove on his resume.