Sunday, April 19, 2009

Asked and answered: Kevin Youkilis

Here's what he's done so far this year:
* A .467 batting average
* A .529 on-base percentage
* A .778 slugging percentage
* Three home runs
* Five doubles
* Nine runs batted in
* Eleven runs scored
* Four hits, including a single, double and home run, on Saturday


Four hits again tonight. What is it that's clicking for you?
"I've just been fortunate. I've gotten a couple of good pitches to hit and gotten good results. A lot of times, you base it on results -- well, in spring training, I couldn't get a hit, but I was hitting the ball good. I just didn't have any results. For me, right now, I'm having good results, and I've got to keep having good at-bats. If you have good at-bats, you give yourself a good chance to get hits."

Did you do anything different this off-season to let you hit the ground running like this?
"Nope. Same old stuff. I'm just going out and doing the same routine. I don't change anything. I'm going through the same routine I've always gone through. It's nothing different. I'm just trying to have good at-bats."

Did the World Baseball Classic help in terms of hitting intense pitching right away?
"I don't think that had anything to do with it because I had four days off, stuff like that. Right now, I'm just hitting the ball good and I've got to keep going up there and having good at-bats throughout the whole year and, hopefully, it turns out for the good."

With that double (in the eighth inning), you were a triple short of the cycle, did that cross your mind?
"When I was running? No. I was just trying to get to second base. I didn't know where the ball was because right off the bat, you've just got to run hard. You never know where the ball is, and you've just got to try to get to second base. I was just watching David (Ortiz) to see what he did. It's not a big deal for me. It's just getting on base and trying to score runs. If that stuff happens, a lot of times, you don't even know it. You're just going up there and trying to have good at-bats."

Did anyone mention hitting for the cycle to you?
"No, no one's mentioned it. For me, I'd rather hit another home run than a triple."

You mean you didn't yell at David, 'I would have had the cycle if you weren't in the way'?
"Nah, no chance. You can't really get a triple to left -- there'd be a lot of people diving and getting hurt. That'd be the only way. It's pretty hard to get a triple to left. But I don't really think about that stuff. I'm just going up there and trying to get hits. The cycle is nothing I've ever thought about doing in my life; I just want to get as many hits as possible. I'll take four doubles or a home run and single, double, triple."

Terry Francona said he feels like you're still getting better. Do you feel that way?
"I hope. I hope I'm not getting worse. I hope I get better as my career goes on and I can end my career on a high note someday, but at some point, there's going to be a struggle. Hitting's not easy. (On Friday) I didn't hit the ball well and didn't have a good day, but you bounce back and you've got to keep going. Everyone goes through a little bit of a slump. You just try to get out of it as soon as possible."

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