BOSTON (AP) — Kevin Youkilis took off his batting helmet, waved to the crowd and blew a kiss to his adoring fans.

A favorite at Fenway Park for so long, he wanted a final chance to say so long.

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The Boston Red Sox traded away the hard-nosed Youkilis on Sunday, sending the three-time All-Star infielder and cash to the Chicago White Sox for utilityman Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart.

A member of Boston teams that won the World Series in 2004 and 2007, the 33-year-old Youkilis had seen his playing time drastically cut lately. He now joins the AL Central-leading White Sox, who wanted a regular third baseman.

“I just got off the phone with him, he’s very excited to join our club and he’s got a little edge to him that I like,” White Sox general manager Kenny Williams said. “I can’t tell you exactly what he said, but he wants to come in and prove some people wrong.”

Youkilis had a rousing end to his days with the Red Sox.

After hitting an RBI triple in the seventh inning of a 9-4 win over the Atlanta Braves, he was lifted for a pinch runner. Longtime pal Nick Punto came out to replace him and the pair hugged.

Youkilis saluted the crowd and was rewarded with a standing ovation. His teammates, coaches and manager Bobby Valentine all were on the top step of the dugout cheering for him, and they urged Youkilis to take a curtain call.

Youkilis’ time in Boston became limited because of the play of rookie Will Middlebrooks, hitting .326 with nine homers and 34 RBIs in 41 games.

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The season started kind of rocky between Youkilis and first-year manager Valentine.

In April, Valentine questioned Youkilis’ commitment to the game in his weekly television interview, then later apologized to him a day later.

Youkilis, who can play both of the corner infield spots, is a career .286 hitter with 133 homers and 563 RBIs.

The White Sox have been looking for a third baseman with Brent Morel plagued by back problems.

“I think it’s good for him. A good change of scenery, I’m sure,” White Sox star Paul Konerko said. “Guy’s a good player and he’s been a great player in Boston for a long time so you can play at that level you can play anywhere.”

The 25-year-old Stewart is 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA in 18 games with the White Sox this season. Lillibridge, 28, is hitting .175 with two RBIs and seven stolen bases in 48 games.

“I loved playing here, I enjoyed it so much,” Lillibridge said. “I’m excited to see where my career will go and I’m excited to help the Red Sox.”

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