FORT MYERS, Fla. ó Kevin Youkilis arrived at Yankees camp today, direct from California. He is clean-shaven, adhering to team rules. He also has a new batting stance after working with hitting coach Kevin Long over the winter.
Youkilis may be a Yankee. But his heart remains in Boston.
"I'll always be a Red Sock," Youkilis said. "To negate all the years I played for the Boston Red Sox, and all the tradition, you look at all the stuff I have piled up at my house and to say I'd just throw it out the window, it's not true."
He also answered other Boston-centric questions:
On David Ortiz saying Bobby Valentine was the problem last season: "Thatís his opinion. For me, as an individual, I know the problems I had playing baseball arenít on one person other than myself. When you donít individually do well, itís on yourself. There can be variables here and there. You can make excuses, but you've got to hold yourself accountable.
"And that team last year, you've got to hold all yourselves accountable as a team. Thereís not one player, thereís not one coach, thereís not one manager thatís going to make or break a season. When Tito got fired, the same thing. It wasnít Titoís fault, itís the playersí fault. Tito canít throw, Tito canít hit. Collectively, we just didnít do it as a bunch. Unfortunately, thatís how it goes."
On his personal issues with Valentine: "That was already addressed. I took care of that, and feeling and all that, it is what it is. I talked to him directly and that will always stay behind closed doors. I said my two cents of what I felt, and he said his two cents and you just go on with your life, you canít sit back and be angry about it, you just got to move on. Iím in a different place this year with the New York Yankees, and Bobbyís doing his thing, and you just got to move on in life. You canít be sour grapes all the time. Lifeís too short."
The Yankees make their first visit to Fenway Park on July 19.