Kevin Youkilis took off his batting helmet, waved to the crowd and blew a kiss to his adoring fans.
A favorite at Fenway Park for so long, he wanted a final chance to say so long.
The Boston Red Sox traded away the hard-nosed Youkilis on Sunday, sending the three-time All-Star infielder and cash to the Chicago White Sox for utilityman Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart.
A member of Boston teams that won the World Series in 2004 and 2007, the 33-year-old Youkilis had seen his playing time drastically cut lately. He now joins the A.L. Central- leading White Sox, who wanted a regular third baseman.
“I just got off the phone with him, he’s very excited to join our club and he’s got a little edge to him that I like,” White Sox general manager Kenny Williams said. “I can’t tell you exactly what he said, but he wants to come in and prove some people wrong.”
Youkilis had a rousing end to his days with the Red Sox.
After hitting an RBI triple in the seventh inning of a 9-4 win over the Atlanta Braves, he was lifted for a pinch runner. Longtime pal Nick Punto came out to replace him and the pair hugged.
Youkilis saluted the crowd and was rewarded with a standing ovation.
His teammates, coaches and manager Bobby Valentine all were on the top step of the dugout cheering for him, and they urged Youkilis to take a curtain call.
Youkilis’ time in Boston became limited because of the play of rookie Will Middlebrooks, hitting .326 with nine homers and 34 RBIs in 41 games.
Youkilis, who can play both of the corner infield spots, is a career .286 hitter with 133 homers and 563 RBIs.
The 25-year-old Stewart is 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA in 18 games with the White Sox this season. Lillibridge, 28, is hitting .175 with two RBIs and seven stolen bases in 48 games.
Also, the Red Sox have placed right-handed pitcher Clay Buchholz on the 15-day disabled list due to what Valentine called a “gastrointestinal issue.”
Clearing the bases
The San Diego Padres have placed right-hander Anthony Bass on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. San Diego also reinstated utilityman Andy Parrino from the 15-day DL before Sunday’s game against Seattle. Parrino, who went on the DL on June 3 with a right wrist ligament strain, began the day with a .176 average, one homer and three RBIs in 39 games, including 24 starts. … San Diego Padres bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds, who pitched for five seasons in the major leagues, died Sunday of pancreatic cancer. He was 50.
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