Kevin Youkilis, a nine-year Boston veteran, has been at center for some time now of speculation that he could be traded as his performance and relationship with Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine have faltered, and rookie Will Middlebrooks has reared his head as a possible viable permanent replacement.
But there appears to be little movement toward an official decision regarding the hometown favorite, as MLB.com reported Sunday morning that there are still a number of teams looking at him, including the White Sox, Indians, Dodgers and Pirates.
But as of Saturday afternoon, Kevin Youkilis trade rumors were still just that, according to his comments as reported by MLB.com:
I have no thoughts on anything ... I haven't been told anything. Until I'm told anything, I can't really respond, he said.
I'm a paid employee here. They make the decisions with that ... When you're a paid employee and the boss tells you to do something, you do it. Until they tell me something, I'm here to play with the Red Sox.
Kevin Youkilis has had a hard time recently with Bobby Valentine, having a public spat with him in April, and now he has sat on the bench while Middlebrooks has played his position for the past three games in a row.
Youkilis addressed that fact during comments Saturday
I went 2-for-3 my last time [playing], Youkilis said. But if you don't play, I don't know how much closer you can get. If you don't hit, don't play, you can't put up many stats. I raked in the cage, if you want to know that. I was hitting missiles all over the place, but you don't get credit for that.
Middlebrooks is hot right now, getting three hits Saturday vs. the Atlanta Braves, and notching home run #9, but MLB.com reported that Youkilis is back in the line-up, playing third base against the Braves on Sunday. Middlebrooks will play designated hitter during the series closer.
Valentine said he wanted Middlebrooks to stay in while he was hot, but apparently he has not yet replaced Youkilis as starting third baseman: