Many wondered whether Youkilis was too old to dazzle. Many wondered whether it was time to start Will Middlebrooks in his spot. Many wondered whether the Red Sox should trade the 33-year-old slugger.
Since returning from the disabled list Tuesday, Youkilis has certainly revved it up for the Red Sox, going 3-for-6 with a homer and two runs scores. He's played in just two games, though, so it's a very small sample size to judge.
But his performance has given the Red Sox reason to be optimistic — whether they elect to retain him or trade him to a suitor. His round-tripper in Tuesday's victory got an encouraging response from Boston skipper Bobby Valentine.
"That's as good a swing as I've seen Youk have," Valentine told reporters in Baltimore. "Center-field power — that was a good sight."
Depending on the plans of the Red Sox brass, Youkilis has the potential to be a viable contributor or a valuable trade chip.
In Wednesday's 6-5 victory over the Orioles, Youkilis continued to put together strong at-bats against starter Jake Arrieta. He went 2-for-3, collecting a single in the second, drawing a walk in the third and recording one more single in the seventh.
His other at-bat against the Orioles was a flyout. Still, it signified a step forward for Youkilis, who mustered up just two homers and nine RBIs in 18 games before hitting the disabled list on April 29.
If Youkilis sustains his approach, he won't be the one answering the questions for much longer. He will be the one placing the onus on the Red Sox — once reinforcements return in the outfield — to divulge their plans about his future.
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