February 16, 2006

Youkilis Deserves Starting Spot; Foulke, Nixon Already In Camp

Terry Francona has hinted that Kevin Youkilis and JT Snow would split time at first base this year. Some fans (like me) have worried that Francona's tendency to favour veterans might mean Snow would get the regular's spot.

Youkilis started only 20 games last season (14 at third base, five at first base, and one at second base). The Globe notes that in his non-pinch-hitting at-bats, he hit .306. He also saw 4.68 pitches per plate appearance; although he had too few at-bats to qualify, his total was far higher than Bobby Abreu's MLB-best 4.39.

At 27, it is time to give Yook a full-time job. Pencil him in at first and if Mike Lowell struggles, he can move over to third.

In Florida, Tito is calling the 38-year-old Snow a "complement" to Youkilis, but "Who gets the majority of at-bats, we don't know. ... We think Youk's ready to assume some responsibility and be a regular major league player. We think he deserves it." ... It's one of the few battles in camp this spring.

Keith Foulke played catch for about 15 minutes on Tuesday, but said he would not speak to reporters until Sunday. ... Trot Nixon was also an early arrival. ... Pitchers and catchers report on Saturday. Position players are due next Wednesday, with the first full-squad workout the following day.

Francona on Jonathan Papelbon: "What he's going to do for sure is pitch with a lot of responsibility. Whether that's in the 'pen or as a starter, I just don't know." ... Dustin Pedroia: "I've killed myself this offseason. There have been no setbacks and I've made myself as strong as possible, and I'm ready for a long year. I'm going to try to win a job in Boston." ... A bland article on Jacob Ellsbury in the Oregonian.

Camps are just opening up, but the Boston media is in regular season form. In his Wednesday column, the Herald's Tony Massarotti wrote about "if and when the Red Sox struggle". The headline?:
So Who Can We Blame?


Sean O said...

Who can we blame? The idiots in the media, let's start with them.

If the entire Sox fanbase doesn't get behind Foulke, who sacrificed everything he had for our World Series championship, I will be seriously disappointed.

I also love that Pedroia is doing everything he can. Am I the only one fantasizing about him hitting .450 this spring training and him taking over for Sea Bass at short?

Jack Marshall said...

Yes, you're the only one.
Anyone who really believes that Francona expects Snow and Youk to "split" first base doesn't know manager-speak. Terry's just protecting the rook and stroking the veteran. If Youklis shows that he isn't Dick Stuart at first and can hit the way everyone expects, Snow will be somewhere between Dave McCarty and Olerud, a defensive sub who can be useful now and then in a pinch if he isn't too old and washed up.
(I'm betting that he is, by the way.) Youk will be fine.