Report: White Sox frontrunners to land Youkilis
Red Sox have also talked with Braves, Diamondbacks, Indians, Dodgers
The Chicago White Sox appear to be the frontrunners in getting a deal done to acquire infielder Kevin Youkilis from the Boston Red Sox, sources told ESPN.com.
The Red Sox have also had discussions with the Atlanta Braves, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers about trading Youkilis.
Arizona is reportedly out of the running but Atlanta has scouted Youkilis more than once recently.
Boston manager Bobby Valentine said he talked with Youkilis Friday about decreasing his playing time. Youkilis is batting just .174 (8 for 46) with no home runs and 10 strikeouts in June.
"He doesn't necessarily totally agree with it and doesn't wake up in the morning and hope that's the case, but I think the professional person that Kevin is, he understands it," Valentine said. "Yes, I think he's fine."
Youkilis was out of the starting lineup for two straight games for the first time since coming off the disabled list May 22. Rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks has recently been getting the bulk of playing time in place of Youkilis.
Valentine said he is "riding the hot hand," but that philosophy could change day to day.
Middlebrooks has 31 RBI in just 38 games since being promoted from the minors, the most by a Red Sox player in that span since Walt Dropo in 1949-50.
With a banged-up outfield, Valentine was able to play Middlebrooks at third base, Youkilis at first and move Adrian Gonzalez from first to right field. But outfielder Cody Ross has returned from the disabled list and Daniel Nava and Ryan Kalish are contributing, so Gonzalez (a three-time Gold Glove winner) is back at first base.
Outfielder Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury are also expected to return from the DL soon. Valentine prefers to keep Gonzalez at first base with a healthy outfield, meaning the manager has to decide each day between Youkilis and Middlebrooks.