While the beginning of spring training always commences with pitchers and catchers reporting, position players also begin their process, albeit separately, and then link up with the rest of the team to fully begin training camp.
While shortstop Derek Jeter is one of the more prominent names down in Tampa early every February to start preparing, a new Yankee took part in his first workout today. Projected starting third baseman Kevin Youkilis, expected to adequately fill the void of incumbent Alex Rodriguez, who is beginning to rehabilitate from major hip surgery, made his first cuts of the spring at the Yankees minor league complex.
In addition to taking batting practice, George A. King III of The New York Post reports that Youkilis, appearing with the customary clean shave expected of the Yankee way, also ventured over to Steinbrenner Field and met with manager Joe Girardi and the rest of the coaching staff. Youkilis has already begun to familiarize himself with hitting coach Kevin Long, as the two linked up together earlier this off-season to work on Youkilis' hitting mechanics.
While Youkilis could have a rejuvenated 2013 with Rodriguez currently an after-thought, the veteran third-baseman holds no qualms from 2012, the most difficult season of his career, which included collusion with former Boston Red Sox manager, Bobby Valentine.
Moreover, even after getting traded away from the place he called home for the majority of his career, Tim Britton of Providence Journal tweets that Youkilis had no ill-will towards his former team while addressing New York media today,
“I'll always be a Red Sox. One bad half year doesn't take away from all the great years I had there.”
With a fresh start and a new level of importance, Youkilis hopes to get back to being the consistent .300 hitter he once was, as he adapts to a new city and a newly-claimed everyday role.
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