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posted: 7/15/2012 10:01 PM

Youkilis returns to Boston this week

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  • White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis talks with starting pitcher Chris Sale during the eighth inning of Sunday's 2-1 victory over the Royals.

      White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis talks with starting pitcher Chris Sale during the eighth inning of Sunday's 2-1 victory over the Royals.
    Associated Press

 
 

As homecomings go, this is going to be a very interesting week.

Former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen leads his disappointing Miami Marlins into Wrigley Field on Tuesday night for the first of three games against the Cubs.

Over the winter, Guillen already was looking ahead to the series, and the outgoing manager said he was going to stiff the media. He was serious at the time, but the thought of Ozzie staying silent is laughable.

Monday night, Kevin Youkilis makes his first trip back to Boston since the June 24 trade from Red Sox to White Sox.

A wildly popular player with Boston for parts of nine seasons, Youkilis figures to get huge applause from the Fenway faithful.

As for heading back over to the Red Sox' clubhouse and exchanging greetings and salutations with former teammates and manager Bobby Valentine, well, there is a better chance Ozzie actually does activate the mute button.

I talked with a couple of veteran Boston beat writers in advance of the White Sox' four-game series against the Red Sox, and it's even easier to see why Youkilis was dealt for Brent Lillibridge and Zach Stewart.

"Some guys took offense at the helmet throwing, etc.," one Boston writer said. "Manny (Ramirez) got into a scuffle with him in the dugout once over it. And the clubhouse turned uncomfortable for him this spring when Josh Beckett, in particular, accused him of being the snitch in the fried chicken-and-beer stuff.

"Then there was the business with (manager) Bobby Valentine, which set Youk off big time. He had to go. And it's no surprise he's playing better with the change of scenery."

Youkilis has been one of the White Sox' best players since the trade, and he instantly became a huge fan favorite at U.S. Cellular Field.

The past is in the past for Youkilis, and he snapped at a reporter during the final weekend of the first half when asked if he's trying to show the Red Sox they made a stupid trade.

When the White Sox were in Kansas City over the weekend, Youkilis toned it down a bit when asked about his days with the Red Sox. But his message didn't change.

"All the memories I have and the stories are from there," Youkilis told reporters Sunday at Kauffman Stadium. "But the thing for me is, I'm making my own story with this team, new stories and a new beginning.

"It's going to be fun, and the good thing here is we are in first place and we have to keep going and playing well and stay in first place."

As for Valentine, he has been widely accused of running Youkilis out of Boston.

In April, Valentine said Youkilis didn't appear to be "physically or emotionally" into playing baseball. That created a firestorm that continues to rage.

The Red Sox' manager tried setting the record straight when talking to Boston reporters Sunday.

"I'll take all that," Valentine said. "I think that the comment that I made early, he made a big issue out of, and I don't think he ever wanted to get over it."

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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