Ben Cherington denies the Youkilis trade reports

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Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.com reported today that the Red Sox are saying they’re definitely looking to trade Kevin Youkilis. GM Ben Cherington, however, is denying that:

General manager Ben Cherington denied a report that the Red Sox were telling teams they “definitely intend to trade” Kevin Youkilis.

“That’s inaccurate,” Cherington e-mailed WEEI.com Friday afternoon. “Some teams have checked in on him. We haven’t told any teams we plan to trade him. It’s our job to listen if teams have interest. He’s swinging the bat well since coming off the DL and [is] a big part of our team and lineup.”

OK, well, if I was running a team and I had a guy I wanted to trade I’d act like I didn’t want to trade him either. And it’s worth noting that, among the guys in the rumors game, Knobler doesn’t whiff all that often.

My guess is that someone on the team is giving him the straight dope and Cherington is making sure to (a) be diplomatic in the interests of not making Youkilis feel unwanted; and (b) is trying to make the team sound less interested in moving Youk for purposes of leverage preservation.

Video: J.D. Martinez hits league-tying 23rd home run

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.

In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.

The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.