TAMPA, Fla. — Kevin Youkilis agrees with Joba Chamberlain: Any tension between the new teammates is in the past.
Youkilis took part in his first workout with the New York Yankees on Thursday and addressed past feuding with Chamberlain over tight fastballs.
After Youkilis agreed to join the Yankees, the reliever left him a voice mail. Chamberlain said in January he had not heard back, then revealed earlier this month he had received a text.
“You guys have written a lot about it, and I think it’s just something you guys keep going on and on about,” Youkilis told reporters Thursday. “But we’re here at spring training as a team and ready to play. I hope the only drama this year we create is walk-off home runs and hits.”
Youkilis and Chamberlain, who was taking part in the second day of workouts for New York’s pitchers and catchers, didn’t cross paths Thursday. Both are looking forward to seeing each other.
“At some time, we’ll all sit down and talk, but things all are going to be OK. Don’t worry,” Youkilis said.
After spending 8½ years in Boston and winning a pair of World Series titles, Youkilis was traded from the Red Sox to the White Sox in June.
Youkilis was part of a pre-spring training session at the Yankees’ minor-league complex. Youkilis took batting practice and also stopped at Steinbrenner Field, New York’s spring training home, and talked with manager Joe Girardi.
A three-time all-star, Youkilis figures to be the Yankees’ starting third baseman for at least the first half of the season while Alex Rodriguez recovers from hip surgery. Youkilis agreed to a $12 million, one-year contract in December.
“I’m just going out there and try to play,” Youkilis said. “I’ll never be Alex Rodriguez. Alex Rodriguez is one of the best hitters of all time. But I could be a good major-league player that can help a team win.”
Youkilis joins Babe Ruth, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens and Johnny Damon as Boston players who made the switch to the Bronx.
“It’s funny,” Youkilis said. “There’s been Yankees’ fans that yell at me and say stuff at the field, and there’s been Yankees fans that bought me beer at the Super Bowl last year. I was in line, and they were nice to me. So, it’s kind of a heat-of-the-moment thing.”
The Red Sox are set to open at Yankee Stadium on April 1.
“To negate all the years I played for the Boston Red Sox, and all the tradition, and you look at all the stuff I’ve piled up in my house, to say I’ll just throw it out the window is not true,” Youkilis said. “I’ll always be a Red Sox. That’s part of your history, it’s part of your life. And you can’t change that. It was great years in Boston. One bad half year doesn’t take away from all the great years I had there.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.