Kevin Youkilis

Kevin Youkilis sent to White Sox for Zach Stewart, Brent Lillibridge

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The White Sox announced after Sunday’s game that they’ve acquired Kevin Youkilis from Boston in exchange for right-hander Zach Stewart and utilityman Brent Lillibridge.

The Red Sox are also sending $5.5 million in cash to help cover Youkilis’ salary, according to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal.

“I just got off the phone with him, he’s very excited to join our club and he’s got a little edge to him that I like,” White Sox GM Kenny Williams said. “I can’t tell you exactly what he said, but he wants to come in and prove some people wrong.”

Youkilis will take over at the hot corner for the White Sox. Brent Morel, who opened the season with the job, is out with a back injury and there is no timetable for his return. He was struggling mightily anyway, and he’ll likely be optioned to Triple-A once healthy.

The Red Sox are now committed to Will Middlebrooks at third, and they’ll see if Stewart and Lillibridge can help in lesser roles. Stewart, 25, had a 6.00 ERA in one start and 17 relief appearances for the White Sox this season. He’s to join the rotation at Triple-A Pawtucket for now. Extremely homer-prone up to this point of his major league career — he’s allowed 21 in 97 1/3 innings — he figures to benefit from getting out of U.S. Cellular Park. While Fenway is still a hitter’s park, it’s not a home run park.

Lillibridge was outstanding in his bit role last year, hitting .258/.340/.505 with 13 homers in 186 at-bats. This year, he’s returned to previous form, with a .175 average, no homers and 26 strikeouts in 63 at-bats. On the plus side, he’s a good defensive outfielder, and he’s capable of playing anywhere in the infield, though he’s well below average at second base and short.

Youkilis, who was drafted by Boston back in 2001, went 2-for-4 with an RBI triple Sunday in his final game for the Red Sox. He’s hitting .233/.317/.377 in 146 at-bats this season.

 

Read more: Directionless Red Sox hope for addition by subtraction

Shapiro, Murray defend Dellin Betances after arbitration feud

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Dellin Betances #68 of the New York Yankees and the American League pitches against the National League during the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The dust hasn’t quite settled after right-hander Dellin Betances‘ arbitration hearing with the Yankees on Saturday. The case was decided in the team’s favor, awarding Betances with a $3 million salary for the 2017 season instead of the $5 million he initially requested. Yankees’ president Randy Levine held a press conference to voice his outrage over the figure presented by Betances and his agency, saying it had “no bearings in reality” since Betances does not have the elite closer status required for a salary bump of that magnitude.

Needless to say, the comments caused some consternation within Betances’ camp. The reliever publicly addressed the outburst, telling the press that he was prepared to put his differences with the team aside until he heard what Levine had to say. Via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:

Players union executive Rick Shapiro and Betances’ agent, Jim Murray, also spoke out in the right-hander’s favor. Shapiro presented Betances’ case during the hearing on Saturday and called Levine’s comments “an absolute disgrace to the arbitration process and to all of Major League Baseball.” In a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Shapiro added: “The only thing that has been unprecedented in the last 36 hours is that a club official, after winning a case, called a news conference to effectively gloat about his victory – that’s unprecedented.”

Murray spoke exclusively to Rosenthal, accusing the president of effectively bullying the 28-year-old during the arbitration process and claiming that Levine had both mispronounced Betances’ name throughout the hearing and blamed the reliever for “declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history.” Like Betances, Murray said that the agency was ready to accept the arbiter’s decision and move on before Levine’s decision to air his grievances to the media. “The only person overreaching in this entire situation is Randy,” Murray told Rosenthal. “He might as well be an astronaut because nobody on earth would agree with what he is saying. Even the others in the room would disagree with him.”

Royals will experiment with Alex Gordon in all three outfield spots this year

CLEVELAND, OH -  MAY 7: Alex Gordon #4 of the Kansas City Royals reacts to a fan while on first base during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 7, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Royals’ manager Ned Yost is shaking things up in 2017, starting with left fielder Alex Gordon. Yost told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that “every scenario is open,” and expects to utilize Gordon in right and center field this spring while he figures out where to position Jorge Soler and Brandon Moss.

Gordon, 33, hasn’t manned right field since a three-game experiment with the Royals back in 2010 and has yet to play center field during any regular season to date. The focus, however, isn’t on Gordon’s capabilities. Among the three outfielders, he carries the best defensive profile and appears to be the most versatile of the bunch.

According to Flanagan, Soler and Moss are average on defense and will continue working closely with Royals’ coach Rusty Kuntz as the season approaches. One arrangement could see Gordon in center field, flanked by Soler in right field and Moss in left, though Yost foresees Soler taking some reps at DH if his defensive chops aren’t up to snuff.

While Moss is prepared to see starts at either outfield corner, Yost appears to be set on keeping Soler in right field, at least for the time being. The club is hoping for a bounce-back season from the 24-year-old outfielder, who was acquired from the Cubs in December after batting a lackluster .238/.333/.436 and sustaining a slew of minor injuries throughout the 2016 season.