07/09/11 8:29 PM ET
Youkilis excited to be All-Star replacement
By Evan Drellich / MLB.com
Then, during the game, teammate Dustin Pedroia planted the seed.
"Pedey said something on the bench, 'Oh, you're going to be going now,'" Youkilis said Saturday afternoon. "I didn't think much of it. There are probably two or three guys that are on the list. I didn't know, but I'm very grateful. My family and friends are pretty excited."
Battling through injuries and back at that hot corner fulltime, Youkilis on Friday was named to the American League All-Star team for a third time in his career.
The 32-year-old got the good news from Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein and assistant GM Ben Cherington right after the game.
"[They] just asked me if I was feeling all right to do it," said Youkilis, who's been bothered by a variety of nicks and tweaks. "I said, 'Yeah, I'd love to [go]. I'd be honored.'"
An All-Star in 2008 and '09, Youkilis entered Saturday's game hitting .275, with 50 runs, 12 homers and 59 RBIs. He's second to only Jose Bautista in on-base percentage among AL third basemen, at a .393 clip.
Youkilis is the fifth Red Sox player to be named to the game, which is set for 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday at Chase Field in Phoenix. Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz are starters in the game as well as Home Run Derby participants, with Jacoby Ellsbury and Josh Beckett named to the AL squad.
"That's awesome," said Gonzalez upon finding out that Youkilis would be joining him. "It's great. He deserves it."
Voted the starter by the fans, Rodriguez has a slight meniscus tear in his right knee. Adrian Beltre, in his first year with the Rangers, is set to start at the hot corner instead, and Youkilis said he was excited to share the job with his ex-teammate.
Asked if the time off for the All-Star break would actually be beneficial to him, Youkilis felt strongly that he would benefit from keeping with baseball activities, and that he'd have to be severely injured to miss a Midsummer Classic.
"Any time you get asked to go a to an All-Star Game, I think you can't turn those down," Youkilis said, "because you never know if it's going to be your last one. For me, I'm very appreciative. I don't think I would ever turn it down.
"It's a good and bad thing. A lot of times, you're flying around and you think it's all crazy and all that, but it's really not that bad. It's a great experience and you can't beat the excitement and adrenaline of that. And I think the good thing, too, when you have those three days or four days off, you don't really do anything baseball related. So when you come back, you kind of come back a little slow."
Youkilis said he's "definitely feeling a lot better" than he did a week ago -- he's been primarily hampered by hip and ankle issues -- and that he'll still get rest the two days after the game. He plans to return to Boston on Wednesday morning, and fly on Thursday to St. Petersburg, where the Sox open second-half play Friday.
As for the game itself, Youkilis is not a fan of home-field advantage in the World Series being at stake, but he also understands how important the outcome could be for his first-place club.
"It's definitely a big thing," Youkilis said. "There's what, a handful of teams that it really affects? But I'm not really a big fan of that system. But if that's the way we have to decide on home-field advantage, you got to go out there [with] the intention of hopefully trying to do well."
Youkilis has one All-Star game hit (2009) in three combined at-bats between the two games he played in.
"It's wild to think this is going to be my third All-Star Game," he said. "One for me was more than I'd ever thought I'd be in."