Alex Rodriguez gives Kevin Youkilis a thumbs-up

Kevin Youkilis of the White Sox looks on Kevin Youkilis of the White Sox looks on from the dugout before a game against the Yankees. (June 18, 2012) Photo Credit: David Pokress

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MIAMI -- As Kevin Youkilis continued mulling the Yankees' offer Saturday , he received an endorsement from the man he would replace. "Youk has always been a tough out," Alex Rodriguez said. "He's a tough player, he's a guy that's a winning player. Whatever the franchise wants to do, I think that would be a good move for us."

The Yankees offered Youkilis, a longtime thorn in their side, a one-year, $12-million contract Thursday morning. The Indians, managed by Terry Francona, his former manager with the Red Sox, have offered two years for a reported $18 million.

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Third base isn't the only hole Brian Cashman has to fill. The Yankees need a rightfielder and catching help, though Cashman has said the latter position is likely to be filled from within.

Rodriguez said early December isn't the time to judge the offseason, referencing late 2011, when the Yankees were months away from bringing in productive role players in Eric Chavez, Raul Ibañez and Chris Stewart.

"We have All-Stars all over the place, we have Hall of Fame players across the board," he said. "I think obviously there's needs, but last year at this time, we [didn't] have Chavez and Ibañez and Stewart and a number of other guys. And they played very, very key roles during the year and down the stretch."

Rodriguez said the same of himself, bringing up 2009, when he missed the first part of the season because of surgery on his right hip. He returned in May and, of course, the Yankees went on to win the World Series.

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"We've seen this movie before," said A-Rod, who isn't supposed to return until July at the earliest. "Hopefully it has the same ending as '09. I remember when I went down, a lot of people counted us out and we had a pretty tough April. But sometime around May, the magic started and it just got better and better and then it was an awesome fall . . . Don't count us out. We are the New York Yankees."

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