FORT MYERS, Fla. — 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: “That’s his opinion. For me, as an individual, I know the problems I had playing baseball aren’t on one person other than myself. When you don’t individually do well, it’s 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. There’s not one player, there’s not one coach, there’s not one manager that’s going to make or break a season. When Tito got fired, the same thing. It wasn’t Tito’s fault, it’s the players’ fault. Tito can’t throw, Tito can’t hit. Collectively, we just didn’t do it as a bunch. Unfortunately, that’s 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 can’t sit back and be angry about it, you just got to move on. I’m in a different place this year with the New York Yankees, and Bobby’s doing his thing, and you just got to move on in life. You can’t be sour grapes all the time. Life’s too short.”
The Yankees make their first visit to Fenway Park on July 19.