Just a few odds and ends after today’s conference calls with Brian Cashman and Kevin Youkilis.
• Cashman said he first contacted Youkilis “in the early part of the winter” and never got the sense that Youkilis was unwilling to consider a deal with the Yankees. “I definitely don’t believe there was an issue with him, how he would view New York or coming here,” Cashman said. “It’s probably an easier transition for someone like that after you’ve been traded. It’s not like he’s going from Boston to New York. He’s gone through the process of being traded from Boston to Chicago and the open market. I think we have a very attractive city to play in and play for, and I think that he chose us for a reason, because this is the best opportunity for him to play and compete. I don’t think he’ll have any problem with it whatsoever.”
• Youkilis on playing in New York: “I’ve had a lot of Yankee fans come up to me and say ‘Hey, I’m a huge Yankee fan, but I like the way you play the game.’ I’m going to play as hard as I can every day, and I think a lot of fans will appreciate that. So, that’s all I can bring to the table, and I hope that the Yankee fans enjoy watching me play.”
• Joba Chamberlain has reached out to Youkilis, and Youkilis said he has a voicemail from Chamberlain on his phone, but Youkilis has not yet returned the call. “I’ve had so many voicemails, and he did call to reach out,” Youkilis said. “I just haven’t been able to return too many calls. … For me personally, it’s a new teammate. We’re going to go out there and take the field together. He goes out there to pitch and hopefully I can play great defense behind him. And if he gets in a jam, we can stop it.”
• Before signing, Youkilis did talk to Johnny Damon about moving from the Red Sox to the Yankees. “I actually talked to Johnny about the New York experience,” Youkilis said. “And he said, you know, it’s a great thing to put on the pinstripes. … Johnny just said, ‘You’re going to love the experience. It’s a great place to play.’ He said Boston and New York are two of the best places to play. For me, it’s going to be a life experience and an opportunity and we’re just thrilled to be able to play for these two franchise that have so much history between each other and also so much history in winning.”
• Cashman listed Youkilis as a third baseman, first baseman and designated hitter. It seems very unlikely that the Yankees will put Youkilis in the outfield, where’s played a little bit in his career. Youkilis said he was told that, when Alex Rodriguez comes off the disabled list, Youkilis and Rodriguez will both get time at third base and designated hitter. “I’m going to play shortstop too,” Youkilis said. “Nah, I’m just kidding. They’re definitely not going to put me at short. If they put me at short, we’re going to be in a lot of trouble.”
• The Yankees had some conversations about trading for a third baseman, but none of those conversations got very far. “We never came close to any trade options,” Cashman said. “We pursued some trade conversations and collected free agent options as well. Youkilis is the only free agent offer we made. We did have some trade discussions, but they weren’t going anywhere.”
• Cashman would not comment on the status of the Ichiro Suzuki contract situation.
• To make room on the 40-man roster, left-hander Josh Spence has been designated for assignment. He was claimed off waivers earlier this winter.
Associated Press photo