Kevin Youkilis will be traded "sooner than later" according to a major league source, which is why the Red Sox third baseman found himself in the middle of a media swarm before last night's game.

Any day, or minute, now, Youkilis may find himself in a different clubhouse — the White Sox, Dodgers and Indians are the teams mentioned most often — and as the questions became more reflective and he was asked to look back on his highlights as a Red Sox, he found the scene a little surreal.

"Is this a goodbye thing?" he said. "I'm just sitting here at my locker. I haven't been told anything. Let's talk about today.

"I'm still here. I'm not dead."

That he is not, but Youkilis has essentially been the baseball equivalent of a non-breathing asset, a healthy scratch the last three games, a sign the Red Sox do not want him to get hurt and kill a deal as well as manager Bobby Valentine's obvious preference to start rookie Will Middlebrooks.

"I'm just trying to play the people that I want to be in the lineup — I think that's one of the things I'm allowed to do," Valentine said.