Kevin Youkilis is tired of the asking.
"Are we going to be asking me the same questions every year?" Youkilis said.
“Play third base? I’d play third base, sure,’’ he told ESPN Boston .
The 31-year-old may be asked to play third base in 2011 with Adrian Beltre an impending free agent and prospect Lars Anderson pushing him, along with a possibility of shifting Victor Martinez to first base. Although Youkilis has never been a regular third baseman, he has played that position countless times in the majors and rose through the minors at the hot corner.
In fact, Youkilis finished 2010 with the vast majority of appearances at first base, something he had not done since 2007 Gold Glove season. In the two seasons in-between, he has remained the first baseman only when third base needed a hole in the dike.
Youkilis doesn't mind switching positions between first and third, but prefers he stay at one position for a season before making a move unless circumstances dictate a shift over. In 2009, he essentially divided time at the two positions, appearing in 77 games at first and 63 at third due to Mike Lowell's DL assignments.
"I’m willing to play anywhere. Third base, first base, I’ve always been that way," Youkilis added. "I haven’t changed, and it’s not going to change. I’m here to play. That’s it.’’
So why is Youkilis of this mindset when many prefer to stay at one position, never switching -- not even if the switching is done in the offseason?
“I’m not like that,’’ Youkilis said. “Just play the game. You’re paid to play the game, so you can’t complain.’’
Right now, Youkilis is getting paid to not play the game, thanks to surgery for his right thumb which knocked him out of action in the beginning of August. Youk finished with a line of .307/.411/.564 in 435 plate appearances, bashing 19 home runs and seemed well on his way to another high MVP finish in what was shaping up to be a career year.
-- Evan Brunell
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