Motivated Youkilis ready to prove he can still play

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Motivated Youkilis ready to prove he can still play

MINNEAPOLIS -- Kevin Youkilis said before Mondays game he has moved on from the Red Sox, who traded him to the White Sox after nine seasons in Boston a day earlier.

No matter how politically correct he manages to be, Youkilis -- who didnt comment when asked about his relationship with Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine -- is motivated by the idea baseball observers doubt he still has the ability to play.

Youkilis said those questions offer more motivation than his sour ending with the Red Sox. His trade to the White Sox comes a little more than two months after Valentine, who is in his first season with the Red Sox, questioned the veteran third basemans desire to play baseball.

Youkilis is hitting .233 with four homers and 14 RBIs this season.

I dont think it has to do with (the end there), just that there was a lot of talk and saying You cant play baseball anymore, and I think I can, Youkilis said. I think I can play at a high level and go out there. But talk is one thing and I have to go out and prove it by my actions.

During Sundays press conference to announce the trade, general manager Kenny Williams said Youkilis has an edge and wants to prove his doubters incorrect. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski said Monday he believes the addition of a motivated Youkilis can only be a positive.

Its never bad when a guy has something to prove to himself and other people, Pierzynski said. I think Kevin is a proud guy. He has done a lot of good things in this game and wants to prove that hes not done and that he can still play.

Youkilis said he now feels healthy after he spent much of the early part of the season battling a lower-back injury. Youkilis has been limited to 42 games because of injury and after he lost playing time to Red Sox rookie Will Middlebrooks, who on Monday was named the American League player of the week.

The combination of poor play, injuries and lost playing time led to frustration for Youkilis.

I started out really cold and hadnt played up to my capability and it was very frustrating, Youkilis said. I wasnt very happy with how I was producing. I wasnt playing good baseball and it wasnt consistent playing time moving back and forth. It wasnt the way I was accustomed to playing. Im just excited to come to Chicago.

The White Sox are pleased to bring Youkilis on board. Manager Robin Ventura said acquiring Youkilis is a good message for the front office to send the clubhouse.

You know they care, Ventura said. They see the need and they understand and youre trying to get the best guy you can get. Hes the best guy we can get. Thats what guys feel. Theyre going out and getting somebody thats going to fit in and be a pro and has a history of being a good player.

As for how Youkilis fits in the clubhouse appears to be of little concern. Players greeted Youkilis with open arms in the visiting clubhouse at Target Field, including Adam Dunn, who wore and dirtied up Youkilis old Red Sox jersey before batting practice.

Were a pretty easygoing bunch and theres no reason why he shouldnt fit right in, second baseman Gordon Beckham said.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Hawk rips Lackey, Swarzak traded, Coop misses Q

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Hawk rips Lackey, Swarzak traded, Coop misses Q

After a wild day at Wrigley Field against the Cubs, Chuck Garfien and Dan Hayes discuss John Lackey hitting four White Sox batters and also play Hawk Harrelson's epic on-air rant directed at the Cubs pitcher.

"Jeff the Sox Fan" appears on the podcast and suggests what he thinks Jose Abreu should have done to Lackey when he was hit for a second time.

While they taped the podcast, Anthony Swarzak was traded to the Brewers. What kind of return did the White Sox get? Garfien also interviews White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper about losing Quintana to the Cubs, why he can't watch Quintana and Chris Sale pitch in different uniform, when some minor leaguers like Reynaldo Lopez will be called up and more.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

How White Sox aggressive deadline strategy paid off in Anthony Swarzak trade

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AP

How White Sox aggressive deadline strategy paid off in Anthony Swarzak trade

The White Sox jumped out ahead of a crowded reliever market once again and traded Anthony Swarzak to the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night.

The White Sox acquired 25-year-old outfielder Ryan Cordell from the Brewers in exchange for the veteran reliever, a baseball source confirmed. The No. 17 prospect in the Brewers farm system, Cordell was hitting .284/.349/.506 with 10 home runs and 45 RBIs in 292 plate appearances at Triple-A Colorado Springs this season.

A nonroster invitee to big league camp this spring, Swarzak was 4-3 with a 2.23 ERA, one save and 52 strikeouts in 48 1/3 innings this season. He’s the third reliever the White Sox have traded since the second half began as they also dealt David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the New York Yankees with Todd Frazier on July 18.

TA free agent after the season, Swarzak has fared extremely well in high-leverage situations, stranding 26 of the 35 runners he had inherited. He pitched in two high-leverage spots in the team’s previous two games, earning his first career save Monday. Swarzak, whose 9.68 strikeouts per nine is a career high, also earned a hold on Sunday in Kansas City.

“I’ve been waiting for that opportunity for a long time,” Swarzak said of Monday’s save. “It’s nice that I went in there and got it done. You think about that moment for years and then it finally happens. You just are trying to take a step back and reflect on what just happened, and I’ll be able to come in tomorrow and be ready to go.”

Two American League scouts said Monday that Swarzak still had good trade value even though he’s viewed as a rental. While he wouldn’t likely net the White Sox a top-150 prospect, they could wrangle a “good” minor-leaguer in a deal. One element that could have potentially derailed the White Sox was an abundance of strong relief options in the market, perhaps as many as 20 pitchers.

[MORE: Carlos Rodon frustrated again after a weird start

After the White Sox traded Robertson and Kahnle, general manager Rick Hahn indicated they moved the pair early in anticipation of a competitive marketplace when they acquired Blake Rutherford and others from the New York Yankees. The Baltimore Orioles are a team that could have wreaked havoc on the relief market if they decide to sell -- something one AL source said they’ve gone back and forth on every day -- because they could flood it with Zach Britton and others.

The move is the third made by the White Sox in a span of two weeks, including the trade of Jose Quintana to the Cubs on July 13. The White Sox still have several veterans on the roster who could draw trade interest, including starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez.

“We are still open for business,” Hahn said last week.

Today’s Knuckleball’s Jon Heyman first reported the deal that sent Swarzak to the Brewers. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal initially reported the teams’ were discussing a trade for Swarzak.