Sports

Kevin Youkilis to play baseball in Japan

Kevin Youkilis played eight seasons for the Red Sox.

AP/file 2012

Kevin Youkilis played eight seasons for the Red Sox.

Former Red Sox infielder Kevin Youkilis is headed to play baseball in Japan next year, according to ESPN.

Youkilis, 34, has agreed to a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, the report said, though it didn’t name the contract’s amount.

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A fan favorite, he played eight full seasons for Boston earning three All-Star appearances, two World Series rings, a .287 average, and one gold glove.

But Youkilis, known for his intense play, was traded to the White Sox during the 2012 season when manager Bobby Valentine publicly questioned the player and team officials preferred starting rookie Will Middlebrooks.

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The following off-season, Youkilis signed as a free agent with the Yankees but was limited to 28 games in 2013 because of injuries.

Joe Bick, Youkilis’ agent, told ESPN the player had opportunities in the United States, but decided to take the family -- including his wife Julie, the sister of Tom Brady, and two children -- to Japan.

Once referred to as the “Greek God of Walks” in the 2003 Michael Lewis book “Moneyball,” Youkilis -- who hasn’t ruled out playing beyond 2014 -- leaves the major leagues at this point with a .382 lifetime on base percentage. That puts him at 155th all time, according to Baseball-Reference.com. Others in his neighborhood include 143) J.D. Drew and Alex Rodriguez, 153) Mo Vaughn, and 161) Derek Jeter and David Ortiz.

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