The Yankees signed Youkilis as a replacement for injured third-baseman Alex Rodriguez, who will undergo surgery on his hip in January. A-Rod is expected to be out for several months as Youkilis was viewed by club management as the perfect replacement.
The 33-year-old Youkilis is a three-time All-Star who has a career batting average of .283. He struggled at the plate last season when he hit just .235. The nine-year veteran was then traded to the Chicago White Sox midway through the season, as he finished the year with 19 homers and 60 RBIs in 122 games.
It will be interesting to see the fans’ reactions to the signing since there’s an intense hatred between the Yankees and Red Sox supporters.
Brian Cashman, the general manager of the Yankees, said Youkilis will be the team’s new everyday third baseman until Rodriguez makes his way back into the lineup. At the moment, it looks like Rodriguez will return sometime in June, but it will all depend on the surgery and how quickly he can recover from it. He added that the team will miss Rodriguez, but signing Youkilis sort of cushions the blow.
Youkilis said he had an offer from Cleveland and some other options on the west coast fell through, but he was surprised the Yankees came calling for his services. He said he talked to Johnny Damon, his former teammate, and asked him what it’s like playing in New York.
Even though there’s a big rivalry between the Yankees and his former Red Sox team, Youkilis said a lot of New York fans told him over the years that they love the way he plays the game.
When the 37-year-old Rodriguez makes his way back to third base, it’s believed Youkilis might be used as a designated hitter and could relieve first baseman Mark Teixeira from time-to-time.
Cashman said he believes Youkilis will fit in well with the current Yankees lineup even though there may have been some bad blood between him and the Yankees over the years. The GM said if Youkilis had any personal issues with his new teammates, he simply wouldn’t have signed for them.