Kevin Youkilis, signed to a one-year, $12 million deal by the Yankees, has no idea whether Yankee fans will embrace him immediately after being a Red Sox so long.
“You can’t control what people are going to think about you. All you can control is what you’re doing in the game. I think over the years I’ve had a lot of Yankee fans come up to me and say ‘Hey, I’m a huge Yankee fan but I like the way you play the game.’ So, I think I don’t change the way... I’m going to play as hard as I can every day and I think a lot of fans will appreciate that. So, that’s all I can bring to the table and I hope that the Yankee fans enjoy watching me play.”
He mentioned his relationship with Joba Chamberlain, who often threw at Youkilis:
“All that stuff that goes on on a baseball field is just things that happen. It’s not a big deal to me. If it was that big of a deal, I wouldn’t be signing with the Yankees. But I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. And I think a lot of is made out to be a lot bigger with the media and the fans. You know, there has been plenty of times where things have happened on the field where if you look at my stats I’ve been hit 99 times. So there’s been multiple people that have hit me with pitches. I think Joba’s only hit me once, this year. But it’s not a big deal. We’re teammates now. We have the same goals. Going to spring training and trying to win. They fortunately got to win the AL East title which I’m looking to do again as a Yankee.”
Any hesitation with joining Yankees?
“I think at first it was kind of different to think after all these years playing with the Red Sox, it’s just a different rivalry and different things you witness on the other side, I mean at first it was like wow. It was more of a shock at first of like ‘Oh my God, I never thought I’d have the Yankees call me and want me on their team.’ But after just going through and thinking it over, it really helped me when I had my charity event in Boston. There are so many great Red Sox fans and I’m sure we’ve actually had Yankee fans in the Boston area that come out. But everyone was gracious and told me that hey, we really wish you the best and that meant a lot.
“There’s a lot of great Red Sox fans and they just wanted the best for me going forward. I know there’s going to be some that don’t like this decision. You can’t worry about that. For me personally, I just want to go out and play and win, and I’m very fortunate now that I got traded to the White Sox, another historic franchise too. So now I’ll have the opportunity to play on three unbelievable franchises in the game of baseball.
“But we talked it over and we just thought it was an exciting opportunity to play there. Boston, it will always be a home for me there because it was such a great time. But unfortunately, times change. I didn’t play up to my capabilities up there last year and there’s a great young player Will Middlebrooks that deserves to play. So you’ve got move on.
“So, I wish the Boston Red Sox success, only that in those 19 games they don’t have success against us, and finish below us in the AL East standings.”
How will the Fenway crowd react when the Yankes come to Fenway on July 19?
“The funny thing is you know the whole when people chant Youk at Fenway it sounds the same as Yankee Stadium when I get booed. So, they always had fun with that,” he said.