(WSCR) It didn’t take long for new White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis to make a splash in Chicago.
In nine games with the White Sox, Youkilis is batting .306 with one home run and nine RBIs, including a walk-off single Wednesday night against the Rangers.
“I’m on a mission and my mission is to win every day.” Youkilis told The McNeil & Spiegel Show Thursday morning. “I want to win as bad as anyone here and that’s my mission every day. I want to stay in first place. I want to make the playoffs.”
Despite many great years in Boston, Youkilis found himself in a tough spot this season with some injuries and a young prospect taking away playing time at third base. Clearly, he’s happy to be in Chicago.
LISTEN: Kevin Youkilis On The McNeil & Spiegel Show
“This is baseball here where you just go out and play the game and there’s not a lot of drama,” Youkilis said. “It’s just awesome to take the field and be wanted.”
The third baseman is proving he can still play baseball at a high level.
“There’s a lot of people who said I couldn’t play baseball anymore. And I feel I can,” he said. “It’s not just about proving them wrong, you know, I’m a guy who got overlooked and got drafted my senior of college, so I’ve always had a little bit of that chip on my shoulder and it’s helped me.”
Youkilis understands why he was traded, admitting Red Sox rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks has a lot of potential.
“A lot of it is about contracts and I have an option next year. There’s a business side to it,” he said.
Still, Youkilis couldn’t help but laugh at some of the criticism he has received over the last year in Boston.
“I played hurt for most of (last) year and finally had surgery on a sport hernia,” he said. “I just laughed. I’m the kind of guy who puts a lot of pressure on myself and I wasn’t playing good ball at all at the beginning of this year. Last year, I had 17 home runs and 80 RBIs in 120 games and people looked at it like it was a horrible year. The way I looked at it, it wasn’t that bad of year. I played hurt and you put those numbers together and you have 20 and 100. Twenty home runs and 100 RBIs is a great year for any ball player.
“I just think that sometimes in that environment in Boston, sometimes the media can get on you and they expect you have a career year every year and that’s just not the case. You’re going to have little things that happen.”
So how does Chicago differ?
“There’s just no added stress here in that regard,” Youkilis said. “I think sometimes that can wear on those teams in the Northeast sometimes with all those media outlets and we’re very fortunate here to not have that.”
Youkilis said he can see himself staying here after this season, saying he loves Chicago and how close it is to his hometown of Cincinnati.
The White Sox have a $13 million option they can use on Youkilis or they can buy it out for $1 million and work on something cheaper.
“Hopefully good things can work out,” Youkilis said.