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Rivera gives Youkilis his blessing; Joba reaches out

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Even before Kevin Youkilis agreed to terms with the Yankees, both Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano already had given their Yankees blessing [3]to the long-time Red Sox third baseman. Now Mariano Rivera has done the same.

“One thing I know, the guy plays hard,” Rivera said at yesterday’s holiday food drive. [4]“Definitely, the Yankees (fans) won’t like him because he was wearing the Red Sox uniform. I don’t see why not. I can’t decide for them, but he will be my teammate and I have to respect that. … Again, all these years that we competed against (him), the guy always gives you the best. And that’s what you want for any player, just give you the best.”

What’s more, the New York Post reports that Joba Chamberlain called Youkilis and left a voicemail [5]to try to clear the air.

At yesterday’s food drive, Rivera once again said expects to be ready for Opening Day. He’s not 100 percent just yet, but he’s nearly ready to begin a throwing program.

“I don’t want to give you a number, I don’t want to speculate, but I’m feeling good,” Rivera said. “The leg is getting stronger and stronger, and that’s it. You have to give it time. I am doing my part, and time is doing its part. … My arm is good. Everything else feels good, so I will start throwing the baseball pretty soon.”

Associated Press photo