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Kevin Youkilis hopes to get white-hot for White Sox

KevYoukilis applies tag Twins’ Jamey Carroll third base second inning Monday night’s game. | Hannah Foslien~Getty Images

Kevin Youkilis applies the tag to the Twins’ Jamey Carroll at third base in the second inning of Monday night’s game. | Hannah Foslien~Getty Images

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Updated: July 27, 2012 6:27AM



MINNEAPOLIS — Kevin Youkilis might have changed the color of his Sox, but he promises to be the same player who grinds out at-bats, plays hard and gets dirty.

Youkilis is known for being a tough out and a run-producing World Series winner with the
Boston Red Sox. That hasn’t been so much the case this season, though, with a .233 batting average, four home runs and 14 RBI.

So manager Robin Ventura is hoping a change from red to white is what gets his new third baseman, whom the White Sox traded for Sunday to fill a gaping hole, playing his best.

‘‘Hopefully I can come to the White Sox and . . . play the game hard, play the game the right way,’’ Youkilis said before going an uneventful 1-for-4 and fielding his one chance cleanly in the Sox’ 4-1 loss Monday to the Minnesota Twins. ‘‘I can’t guarantee anything with stats and all that, but I know one thing: I’ll come out and play the game right and give it my all, and hopefully that’s enough. But my stats, hopefully they’ll end up on a higher note.’’

Youkilis worked his way into deep counts and made contact each time up, but he couldn’t spark a lineup that has sputtered of late — especially in right-hander Jake Peavy’s last three outings. The Sox had five hits, with Adam Dunn striking out four times and Paul Konerko going 0-for-3. Konerko has seven hits in his last 42 at-bats.

‘‘Offensively, we just seem to be in a funk,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘You’ve got to work through it, and eventually it will happen. You just hope it’s
tomorrow.’’

Peavy allowed three runs and a season-high 10 hits in six innings. He struck out seven and walked one.

‘‘The ball just bounced their way,’’ Peavy said. ‘‘There’s no other way to say it.’’

For different reasons, it has been an emotional couple of days for Peavy and Youkilis. Peavy is mourning the loss of former San Diego Padres bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds, who died of cancer Sunday.

‘‘As hard as he battled, I wanted to battle for him and make him proud,’’ Peavy said. ‘‘I would like to have battled and won, but it wasn’t meant to be. I gave it all I had.’’

Youkilis said his last game with the Red Sox on Sunday at Fenway Park was ‘‘probably the most emotional thing I’ve ever gone through on a baseball field. . . . The Red Sox fans were unbelievable.’’

That said, he dons a White Sox uniform with something to prove.

‘‘I don’t think it has as much to do with . . . a lot of talk saying, ‘You can’t play baseball anymore,’ ’’ Youkilis said. ‘‘I think I can play at a high level. Talk is one thing, and I’ll have to go out there and prove it by my actions.’’

Youkilis’ head was still spinning after the game.

‘‘To think in 24 hours all the things that transpired, my mind was kind of racing a little bit,’’ he said. ‘‘Hitting was normal. I had to bear down a couple of times and focus while I was out in the field. Once I did that, I actually kind of had fun.

‘‘It wasn’t fun that we lost, but it was just kind of enjoyable to be around new teammates and a new environment.’’



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