Red Sox’ Dustin Pedroia responds to manager Bobby Valentine’s comments about Kevin Youkilis

There is a rift growing in the Boston Red Sox locker room between manager Bobby Valentine and his players after a comment Valentine made questioning Kevin Youkilis’s commitment.

The Boston Herald reported that on Sunday, Valentine stated that he didn’t believe Youkilis was, “as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past.”

While Youkilis’s production has been down, batting .200 with three RBIs, according to MLB.com, it is still only April.

“I’m more confused than anything,” Youkilis said in response to Valentine’s comments. “Everyone knows I go out and play the game as hard as I can.”

Valentine tried to backpedal out of his initial statement by saying that he was misunderstood. He attempted to clarify his remarks by saying that he meant Youkilis’s swing was off but Youkilis didn’t seem to care, which meant he wasn’t as invested as he used to be.

“I should have explained that his swing isn’t what he wants it to be.” Valentine said. “The physical part of his swing is frustrating. Frustration leads to emotion. I haven’t seen him break as many helmets as I’ve seen on TV. It just seemed different.”

The lack of broken helmets clarification didn’t smooth things over, however, and Youkilis was soon publicly supported by teammate Dustin Pedroia.

“I know that Youk plays as hard as anyone I’ve ever seen in my life,” Pedroia said. “I have his back and his teammates have his back and we know how hard he plays. I don’t really understand what Bobby’s trying to do, but that’s really not the way we go about our stuff here. I’m sure he’ll figure that out soon.”

After a shaky start to the season the Red Sox’s have knocked off three straight wins. They have the talent to contend for a World Series Championship, but the dissention in the club house between manager and players could be the beginning of a frustrating season.

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