Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 7/15/12

Kevin Youkilis is returning to Fenway Park on Monday for the first time since being traded from the Red Sox to the White Sox three weeks ago. In anticipation of Youkilis’ return, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was asked on Sunday if there was friction between the two. Based on his reaction, it’s safe to say Valentine still has friction with Youk.

“I think that’s a joke,” Valentine told the media, per the Boston Globe. “I wasn’t here last year. There was no friction in spring training. So I think that’s a joke. But I’ll take all that. I think the comment that I made early, he made a big issue out of and I don’t think he ever wanted to get over it.”

Valentine questioned Youkilis’ commitment early in the season, setting the stage for Youkilis being traded months later.

Valentine was asked how his relationship was with Youkilis after the making those comments.

“I have no idea,” he said. “It’s whatever he wanted it to be. Like I said, we didn’t have any strained relationship in spring training and I wasn’t around last year.”

While Valentine still seems to indicate friction with Youkilis, the former Red Sox infielder took the high road.

“I got nothing about any of that stuff. I’m over all the Boston thing this year,” he said. “There’s a lot of great past history but this year I’m focused on the White Sox.”

Valentine may have apologized to Youkilis, but things never seemed to be resolved. Youk has gone on to perform well for the White Sox, while his replacement in Boston, Will Middlebrooks hurt his hamstring and experienced a slight drop in production.

With Valentine maintaining an attitude like this, it’s easy to understand why Red Sox players may not support him. Isn’t it about time to get over the conflict?

Photo credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE; Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

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