Kevin Youkilis has posted an .864 OPS with eight home runs and 25 RBI in 33 games since joining the White Sox. They love him, but that love has limits.
A White Sox official told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe this weekend that the club is unlikely to exercise Youk’s $13 million club option for the 2013 campaign. That’d make him a free agent, but the Pale Hose “didn’t give up much and aren’t assuming much of his 2012 salary” so they’ll be content if he turns out to be merely a rental property.
Chicago enters play Sunday with a 58-48 record, ranking first in the American League Central standings.
Youkilis was batting .233/.315/.377 in 42 games with the Red Sox before they dealt him in exchange for utilityman Brent Lillibridge and righty Zach Stewart. Lillibridge was designated for assignment then traded to the Indians last month. Stewart has a 3.76 ERA and 1.30 WHIP through 38 1/3 innings at Triple-A Pawtucket.
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.