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updated: 7/7/2012 9:16 PM

Youkilis doing it all for White Sox

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  • White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis tags out the Blue Jays' Jose Bautista in the ninth inning Saturday. It was Youkilis' 2-run homer in the fifth inning that tagged Toronto with the loss.

    White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis tags out the Blue Jays' Jose Bautista in the ninth inning Saturday. It was Youkilis' 2-run homer in the fifth inning that tagged Toronto with the loss.
    Associated Press


It was an interesting scene in the White Sox' postgame clubhouse following Saturday's 2-0 victory over the Blue Jays at U.S. Cellular Field.

Standing in front of his locker in the far end of the room, Kevin Youkilis was asked if he was trying to prove something to the Boston Red Sox, the team he helped win two World Series rings.

Before being traded to the White Sox two weeks ago, Youkilis was buried deep in first-year manager Bobby Valentine's doghouse.

As he was bristling over the question, guess who was on a clubhouse TV screen located just past Youkilis' left shoulder?

Bobby V.

Had Youkilis mocked Valentine and the Red Sox for trading him for utility man Brent Lillibridge, minor-league pitcher Zach Stewart, Boston fans probably would be in tears.

Even worse, for the Red Sox, they picked up $5.5 million of the $7.6 million left on Youkilis' contract.

What a steal for the White Sox, and what were Valentine and rookie Boston general manager Ben Cherington thinking?

Youkilis probably has some interesting thoughts, but he's not at all interested in sharing them with the public.

"I'm not … this has nothing to do with the Red Sox," Youkilis snapped. "I play for the White Sox, and I'm here to play for the White Sox."

And that's a very good thing -- for the White Sox.

"I like that the fresh start has been great for him," relief pitcher Matt Thornton said. "He's looking great for us, and we're happy to have him here."

After coming over from the Red Sox on June 24, Youkilis' first seven games with the White Sox were on the road. He was pretty good, going 5-for-22 and driving in 2 runs.

But since arriving at U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday, the 33-year-old third baseman has taken his game to a completely different level.

"The games he's played, they show for themselves," said Sox starter Gavin Floyd, who was brilliant in Saturday's win over Toronto. "Defensively, he's been great, offensively, he's been picking this team up, getting some big hits.

"He just has great at-bats every time. He's a good clubhouse guy, and we're excited to have him, and he's definitely a big plus to this team."

Youkilis' 2-run homer to straightaway center field in the fifth inning off Jays starter Ricky Romero was the difference, and the 423-foot shot helped the surging White Sox win their fifth straight game.

In his first five home games for the Sox, Youkilis is 8-for-19 with 3 home runs and 9 RBI.

"It's just going out there and playing the game," Youkilis said. "And (manager) Robin (Ventura) does a good job making sure we go out there and just play the game. And guys in this locker room do a good job. We just try to play the game every day, and that's what we're doing."

Youkilis was immensely popular with Red Sox fans at Fenway Park for nine seasons, so he's not letting all of the new "Youk" chants go to his bald head.

"You can be popular one week and you can be the bomb the next," he said. "This game's crazy, and you've just got to keep grinding it out. You can't get too high and you can't get too low. You just try to stay in the middle."

Youkilis' clutch home run was more than enough for Floyd, who pitched 7 innings, and Thornton, who finished the rest of the game for his second save.

"He threw the ball great," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said of Floyd. "He worked fast. He commanded all his pitches. There wasn't a lot of dead time in between pitches and he was super aggressive, which is something we have been harping on him for a while about.

"It was nice to see and to see him get the results he got."

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