Youkilis, Pedroia respond to Bobby V’s comments

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Not surprisingly, Kevin Youkilis was asked about Bobby Valentine’s comment that Youk was not “physically or emotionally into the game.”  Rob Bradford of WEEI has his comments:

“That’s not what I see. I go out every day and play as hard as I can. I take every ground ball in the morning, take every at-bat like it’s my last. I don’t think my game has changed at all … I’m more confused than anything, because I think everyone knows I go out and play the game as hard as I can.”

Dustin Pedroia, who is never one to mince words, commented as well, and he is not a big fan of Valentine calling Youkilis out publicly. Again, Bradford:

 “I don’t really understand what Bobby’s trying to do. But that’s really not the way we go about our stuff here. I’m sure he’ll figure that out soon.  We’ve got Youk’s back. He’s played his [butt] off for us for a long time …”

Asked if he thought Valentine’s comments could have been meant as a motivational tool, Pedroia didn’t sound impressed.

“Maybe in Japan or something,” he said, referring to Valentine’s stint as a manager there. “Over here in the U.S., we’re on a three-game winning streak, we want to feel good and keep it rolling. We feel we have a good team and we’ve just got to get each other’s backs and play together. Because if you don’t do that, I don’t care what sport you’re playing, you’re not going to win.”

Happy Patriot’s Day, Boston.

Ronald Acuña batting sixth, playing left field in his Braves debut

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The Braves have made it official, announcing that they have called up top prospect Ronald Acuña. He’ll bat sixth in tonight’s game against the Reds and will start in left field.

Acuña will be wearing number 13, no doubt to honor past Braves luminaries like Adonis Garcia, Nate McLouth, Ozzie Guillen, Juan Eichelberger and Jerry Royster, all of whom have worn the fabled 1 and 3. Feel like he stands a pretty good chance of besting their exploits.

The 20-year-old Acuña was 11-for-his-last-33 with a homer, a double, four walks, and three stolen bases at Triple-A Gwinnett following a slow start. He tore it up in spring training, however, and hit .325/.374/.522 with 21 home runs, 82 RBI, 44 stolen bases, and 88 runs scored in 139 games last season across three levels of the Braves’ minor league system.

The future was delayed a bit, but it’s here now for the Atlanta Braves’ phenom.