Youkilis kept up with what the Red Sox did in the offseason.
“Oh, yeah. I see guys they picked up,” he said. “They have a bunch of guys I’ve played against and know. It’s a different team. Good coaching staff. I love Brian Butterfield. I love that Arnie Beyeler got the first base job. I’m not rooting for them during the 19 games they play against us.”
Red Sox management thought team chemistry was poor. So, they changed it.
“Guys got along, but I think it was a different atmosphere,” Youkilis said. “Different things were happening with different managers, coaches, and players. The whole thing was different. [Francona] wasn’t there. Players have to play, though, no matter what the situation was.”
After the September 2011 collapse, why did the poor play continue in 2012?
“We just didn’t play good baseball,” Youkilis said. “You can look at a million different reasons why. You can look at this variable or that variable, but we as players didn’t perform. And that’s the bottom line.”
And now, Youkilis is the third baseman of the New York Yankees.
“I grew up at third base, but I played more first base than third base,” he said. “Third is a tough position; first base is easier. Third is one of the toughest positions in the infield. I’ve been working hard on trying to improve my weaknesses, trying to improve every day.”
Youkilis will always love the time he spent in Boston, but “I think we have a great team over here. It’s going to be fun.”