Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine has seen Kevin Youkilis struggle early. On Sunday, he criticized commitment of All-Star third baseman on a radio show.
Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington poured cold water on an apparent rift between Kevin Youkilis and manager Bobby Valentine after the skipper appeared to question the third baseman's commitment.
Valentine, who later apologized to the veteran player for the comments, said in an interview Sunday that Youkilis appeared to not be applying the same level of effort that saw him win two World Series and earn three All-Star appearances.
"I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Valentine said while speaking to WHDH's Sports Xtra before Boston's win over Tampa Bay.
The comments ignited a media firestorm and even sparked criticism directed at Valentine from Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
But just as things looked to be getting worse after Boston's 1-0 loss to the Rays on Monday, Cherington dismissed any problems in the Red Sox clubhouse, saying all was well in Bean Town.
"I think as with many things in baseball and life, the more you get a chance to talk about it and understand what people mean were and how they perceived something, that's what allows you to get past it," Cherington said, according to The Boston Globe.
"Kevin and Bobby spoke. I spoke to Bobby, I spoke to Kevin. What needed to be said has been said and we'll move forward."
Youkilis, who said he learned of the criticism from his agent as he was heading to bed Sunday, confirmed he met with Valentine on Monday morning to discuss the matter.
Though Youkilis refused to disclose details of their conversation, he took issue with the claims against him.
"I was confused by those remarks," he told reporters. "Everyone knows I play the game hard ... Everyone here knows I go out and play with emotion. The only time there has ever been a question is because I've been too emotional."
Valentine told reporters he "totally apologized" to Youkilis for the furor and for not being clearer with his comments.
Youkilis, who is coming off surgery for a sports hernia that cut his 2011 season short, did not play in Monday's game due to a sore groin.
He started 2012 poorly, going hitless in eight at-bats before he was benched for the third game. He went 0 for 4 when he was restored to the lineup the next day against Toronto but has gone 6 for 18 with three walks in five games since.