Results tagged ‘ Kevin Youkilis ’

Jorge Posada: Mariano Rivera “is a freak of nature”

Mariano Rivera, Jorge PosadaJorge Posada hasn’t yet arrived in camp for his duties as one of the Yankees’ guest instructors, but we must be getting close, because the five-time World Series champion is starting to talk a little ball.

Posada was a guest on Sirius/XM MLB Network Radio this morning with hosts Jim Memelo and Jeff Nelson. He shared his thoughts on several topics around the 2013 Yankees, including Posada’s prediction that Mariano Rivera will be able to return to the same dominant level for this team.

On Mariano Rivera: “Mariano is going to be 100 percent. Mariano is a freak of nature. One of those things about Mariano, he has great control, that cutter will not go away. I expect Mariano to be the old Mariano.”

On Derek Jeter: “He said it perfectly the other day, he’s going to be sore all over because he hasn’t been able to train like he wanted to, but he’s going to push himself to be ready for Opening Day. I know him, he’s going to probably be doing two-a-days and working really hard off the field to get back to 100 percent when it comes to Opening Day.”

On the Yankees’ catching competition: “Obviously whoever has the best spring is going to start. That probably changes throughout the year. We’ve got three young catchers and we’re going to hopefully look forward to seeing them compete. This is what baseball is all about. You don’t get the job, you earn the job. I think it’s going to be good.”

On scouting reports for Cervelli and Romine: “Cervelli, very energetic, very athletic, very quick behind the plate. He has a good arm. He’s a lot more mature now so I think it’s perfect timing for him right now. Romine, obviously a little younger, smart kid behind the plate. We like him very much but they don’t want to rush him, so we’ll see. He’s got a shot too. We’ll see what happens in the spring.”

On Kevin Youkilis: “It’s going to be fun. I think it’s going to be great. The guy plays hard, that’s another guy that wants to prove himself. He had a tough year last year and I bet he worked really hard during the offseason to be a Yankee and be a part of this team.”

Friday’s early camp notes: Youk offers an explanation

spring-trainingKevin Youkilis was clicking around the Internet on Thursday evening when he realized one of his comments was picking up steam. Youkilis raised some eyebrows by saying that he’d “always be a Red Sock” and thought he should seek out the media on Friday at George M. Steinbrenner Field to clarify exactly what he’d meant.

“It hit me hard. I was like, ‘Oh man, I’ve got to watch my mouth here.’” Youkilis said. “I look at what I was saying as more like a baseball card. When you look at it, there are going to be nine seasons (with Boston). That’s why I said that. In the context of what I said, if you read it as just ‘I’m always a Red Sock,’ it looks bad.

“But it’s not that way. I’m a Yankee today, I’m excited, I’m proud to be a Yankee and I’m proud for Opening Day to play against the team that I spent all those seasons with. Trust me, if you know my personality and you know who I am, it doesn’t matter what team it is along the way – I want to beat everyone. I want to beat the Red Sox because I want to start off with a win at Yankee Stadium.”

Youkilis said that the comment was “one of those things you have to take with a grain of salt,” and that he also considers himself a Cincinnati Bearcat and a Chicago White Sock. It’s all part of his history, he said.

“I read a quote in (the clubhouse) that says, ‘There’s no such thing as an ex-Yankee,’” Youkilis said. “I’ll be proud to be a Yankee for life after this year, too.”

  • As long as Youkilis was clearing up controversies, he also wanted to issue a progress report on his relationship with Joba Chamberlain. The former rivals shook hands on Friday morning, discussing Chamberlain’s budding new mustache (which has garnered mixed reviews, to put it nicely). Both players said their previous incidents are in the past and Chamberlain said he didn’t feel a need to explain anything to Youkilis.
  • On to some actual baseball updates, Michael Pineda threw a bullpen session of 25 fastballs and said he felt good. It’s a light day on the bullpen side here at Yankees camp: Cesar Cabral, Zach Nuding and Matt Tracy also threw sides and Vidal Nuno threw a live batting practice session, but there aren’t too many bold-faced names on the workout list. The catchers in camp will take batting practice and the pitchers will go through fielding drills, but other than that, it could be a quick one for the Yanks.
  • Today won’t be the day we get Mariano Rivera’s decision, in case you were wondering.

Thursday’s camp notes: Youk “always a Red Sock”

Kevin Youkilis, David OrtizIt’s probably not the best way to endear yourself to a new fan base, but hey, let’s at least give Kevin Youkilis some points for honesty.

The new Yankee and former Red Sox third baseman briefly stopped by George M. Steinbrenner this afternoon to check out his locker assignment and drop off a few items, spotting his No. 36 jersey hanging alongside a few pairs of pinstriped pants.

This is the new reality for Youkilis, who is clean-shaven to satisfy team regulations and sounded like a Yankee when he said that he’s just here to “go out there every day and play hard and try to win a World Series.”

Oh, but nothing in the fine print of his one-year, $12 million deal with the Yankees mandated that he must put his Red Sox history through the shredder, and so Youkilis made it clear that part of him will always belong in Boston.

“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,” Youkilis said. “I’ll always be a Red Sock.”

That quote won’t win Youkilis many friends among a fan base that, judging by early Internet reaction, seems to be unconvinced about his addition. But here’s what might win them over: if Youkilis is healthy and productive for New York, the same blue-collar qualities that made Youkilis such a frustrating opponent over the years are exactly what Yankees fans have been asking for.

Think about it — how many times have we heard the talk-radio rants that the Yankees need more players with Paul O’Neill’s brand of intensity, the unbridled fury it takes to assault a bat rack or water cooler without a second thought about the millions watching at home? Youkilis can be that guy. In other words…

“I’ll never be Alex Rodriguez,” Youkilis said. “I mean, Alex Rodriguez is one of the best hitters of all-time. I’m not going to be that same guy. But I can be a good Major League player who can help the team win, and that’s all you’ve got to do.”

Here’s some more of Thursday’s notes and quotes from Tampa:

  • Newly acquired right-hander Shawn Kelley is expected to join the team shortly after being traded by the Mariners on Wednesday evening. Kelley is a power arm with a plus slider and figures to compete with Cody Eppley for a bullpen role. He has a Minor League option remaining, so he could also start the year at Triple-A.
  • Don’t leave the lights on for Alex Rodriguez here in Tampa; Brian Cashman said that A-Rod will not join the Yankees at any time this spring. He’s supposed to arrive in New York tomorrow from Miami to continue his rehab, so it sounds like the earliest anyone might see him around the ballpark is April 1 against the Red Sox.
  • As we discussed earlier on the blog, Michael Pineda has progressed to throwing full mound sessions and the Yankees are optimistic that he could be helping at the big league level in late May or June. A lot can happen between now and then, and setbacks are an expected part of the process, but he’s on track so far. Pineda will start throwing to hitters in March, but isn’t expected to pitch in any Spring Training games.
  • Dellin Betances took a step backward last season, but the Yankees haven’t given up hope on the hulking right-hander, hoping that a good showing in the Arizona Fall League can right his ship. Cashman said that the power, physicality and stuff are all there for Betances. One glaring problem has been fastball command, which is why Betances found himself demoted to Double-A Trenton last year.
  • Ivan Nova said he doesn’t know why his strikeout rate jumped to 8.1 per nine innings last season after he posted 5.3 strikeouts per nine innings in 2011. He said he was just trying to pitch his game, not worrying about strikeouts. The number that still bothered Nova was his 5.02 ERA; the Yankees have scored him plenty of runs, but that’s too many to ask.
  • Funny note from Girardi, who was recounting the uncomfortable moment he had to tell Nova that they were leaving him off the playoff rosters last year: “It’s not like he flipped my desk over or I felt threatened, but I could see the disappointment. I have a pretty big desk.”

Message received: Joba hears from Youkilis

Joba Chamberlain, Kevin YoukilisI guess we can all take that deep sigh of relief now. Kevin Youkilis has sent Joba Chamberlain a text message, according to Newsday’s Erik Boland, who is on the ground down in Tampa:

There was never much doubt that Chamberlain and Youkilis were going to put aside their differences and try to play nice as teammates, but at least there’s some confirmation that things are moving in the right direction.

Chamberlain had said that he reached out to Youkilis shortly after the third baseman signed in December, leaving a voice mail that went unreturned for a while.

Other notes passed along on Twitter by Boland and the New York Daily News’ Anthony McCarron as they guard the sidewalk outside the Yankees’ minor league complex (the media is not being allowed on the grounds yet — check out McCarron’s sweet photo):

Michael Pineda threw approximately 25 pitches from a half-mound. It’s his third such session of the spring. … Phil Hughes and Clay Rapada have arrived. David Robertson is also on site. … Derek Jeter worked out again. … Ivan Nova stopped briefly and told reporters he has no doubt he’ll be in the Yankees rotation.

Kevin Youkilis shows off new batting stance

Kevin YoukilisKevin Youkilis owns one of the most distinctive batting stances in the big leagues, but he’ll be showing off a modified version when he reports to Yankees Spring Training later this month.

Among the chief changes implemented since we last saw him — Youkilis has lowered his hands, he’s crouching a little more, has more balance, a shortened delivery, and less of a leg kick.

For a demonstration, you’ll have to tune in tonight to Yankees Access on YES. Youkilis will explain the how and why behind the mechanics, among a variety of topics, tonight at 10:30 p.m. ET after the Nets postgame show.

Youkilis also told Jack Curry of YES that he has already heard from some members of the Yankees’ celebrity fan base, including actor and comedian Adam Sandler.

“I talked to Adam and he always says it was the hardest thing for him every time I came up to bat,” Youkilis told Curry. “Because being Jewish, he’s like, ‘Gosh, I gotta root for him its sacrilegious not to root for a Jewish ball player,’ but he plays for the Red Sox so I can’t root for him.’ He said, ‘I always cheered for you, but man, you always killed us and I always hated that part.'”

Updated — here’s the video, via YES.

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