(SportsNetwork.com) - Former All-Star third baseman Kevin Youkilis will
apparently be continuing his playing career in Japan, with the veteran major
leaguer agreeing to a one-year contract with the Rakuten Golden Eagles for the
Youkilis' agent, Joe Bick, confirmed the deal to MLBTradeRumors.com on Friday,
calling the move "a life experience that was too good to pass up."
The soon-to-be 35-year-old is coming off an injury-plagued 2013 campaign with
the New York Yankees in which he was limited to only 28 games by back problems
and hit a career-low .219 with two home runs and eight RBI. Youkilis did not
play after June 13 due to a surgical procedure to repair a herniated disc.
Youkilis had been one of the American League's premier hitters during a four-
year stretch with the Boston Red Sox from 2007-10. During that time frame, he
averaged 23 homers and 88 RBI along with a .303 average and finished third in
voting for the 2008 AL MVP after posting career-bests of 29 homers, 115 RBI
and a .312 average.
An extremely popular player during his nine-year tenure in Boston, Youkilis
also was a key part of two World Series titles with the Red Sox in 2004 and
2007 and was named an All-Star three times, most recently in 2011.
Youkilis will be replacing another American with big league experience in
Rakuten, as Casey McGehee served as the Golden Eagles' third baseman last
season before signing with the Miami Marlins earlier this week.
Rakuten is also the team that owns the rights to prized Japanese hurler
Masahiro Tanaka. MLB.com reported Friday that the Golden Eagles are still
undecided as to whether they will post Tanaka, widely considered the best
potential pitcher available on the current free-agent market, and allow him to
play in the majors next season.
The Sports Network