ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Dustin Pedroia knows that trades are part of baseball. But he will find it strange to see Kevin Youkilis playing for the White Sox.
“We’ll always feel he is part of us. He was here for a long time. It’s going to be weird seeing him in another uni,” Pedroia said.
“I’m sure [the fans] are going to give him a nice ovation. He played his butt off for a long time. He was pretty respected for the way he played and the way he went about his business. I’m sure they’ll show their appreciation for him.”
Youkilis is hitting .295 with three homers and 15 RBIs in 16 games for the White Sox since the June 24 trade. He spent 8½ seasons with the Sox, earning two World Series rings.
“He’s a great player, man,” Pedroia said. “You knew it was only a matter of time when he got on the field consistently that he would perform well. He brings energy.”
Pedroia (thumb), who is planning to come off the disabled list Thursday for the final game of the series, stays in contact with Youkilis through text messages. But seeing his old friend in the other dugout will take some getting used to.
“We’re trying to win. But it’s going to be weird,” Pedroia said.
Youkilis was given several loud ovations at Fenway Park on the day he was traded and long has been a fan favorite. But for some reason, he’s not sure what kind of reception to expect.
“I don’t know. Probably a good reaction,” Youkilis told reporters in Kansas City, Mo., where the White Sox won, 2-1, Sunday. “But after the first day, they don’t want me to do well playing against your team. So you never know what you are going to get. I think it will be a good reception.”
Youkilis is looking forward to the reunion.
“It will be a different feeling, different dugout and all that stuff. Different emotions, but you have to bear down and really focus. I think once the game starts, that’s all you really play for.
“I’m looking forward to seeing some people. It will be good to see some players I played with and people that have been around that city. It will be good to see some people and some friends that live there, and a few friends I made for a lifetime.”
Sox rookie Will Middlebrooks, whose play led to the trade, also is eager to see Youkilis.
“He did a lot for me,” Middlebrooks said. “It’s going to be fun, for him and the fans and all of us to get to see him.”