Kevin Youkilis has been all class since the Red Sox traded him away to Chicago. Bobby Valentine, well, not so much.
Taking questions Sunday before Youkilis’ return visit to Boston this week, Valentine said: “The comment I made early, he made a big deal of. And I don’t think he ever wanted to get over it.”
Well, of course he didn’t. His brand new manager decided to go spouting off to the media about his commitment to his team and his job as a whole.
What Valentine said back in April was that, “I don’t think he’s as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason.”
Even if Valentine was right about that, blabbing about it was hardly the smart approach. Although it seems Valentine eventually got his way; Youkilis was traded for a very modest return last month.
As for what has happened since, Valentine said he expected Youkilis to produce for his new team.
“I haven’t seen him play,’’ he said. “He’s gotten a lot of hits, played a lot of games. It seems like he’s healthier.’’
Asked if he was surprised that Youkilis appeared healthier, Valentine responded: “Not surprised. As a matter of fact, Maggs (hitting coach Dave Magadan) said he had no doubt if he went somewhere else he’d play better.’’
With last Wednesday’s start against the Yankees, Mariners hurler Hisashi Iwakuma pushed his 2016 innings total up to 2016. That clears the 162-inning hurdle for his 2017 option to vest at $14 million. However, as Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors reports, the language in Iwakuma’s contract also stipulates that the right-hander finish the season without suffering a specific injury.
Iwakuma, 35, was in agreement with the Dodgers on a three-year contract back in December but failed the physical, which nullified the deal. He ended up signing with the Mariners on a one-year, $12 million deal with a full no-trade clause and club options for 2017 and ’18 that vest at specific inning thresholds (162 each or 324 for both seasons).
This season, Iwakuma has stayed healthy, making 26 starts to the tune of a 14-9 record, a 3.81 ERA and a 118/36 K/BB ratio in 163 innings.
Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki deposited a single to left-center field in the fourth inning of Monday night’s game against the Mets, then added a double to center field in the eighth. Those mark hits No. 3,010 and 3,011 for Suzuki in his major league career, tying and then moving past Wade Boggs for sole possession of 27th on baseball’s all-time hits list.
Suzuki would come around to score on a double by Xavier Scruggs to break a scoreless tie in the eighth.
Here’s the video of Ichiro’s first hit.
By the end of the season, Suzuki will have presumably moved ahead of Rafael Palmeiro (26th; 3,020) and Lou Brock (25th; 3,023).
Suzuki was 2-for-4 after the double. With baseball’s fifth month nearly complete, the 42-year-old is currently batting .298/.371/.373.