New Yankee Kevin Youkilis has no issues with Joba Chamberlain
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Joba Chamberlain did his part last week, and Kevin Youkilis did his Thursday.
In his first appearance at Yankees spring training, Youkilis said there is no lingering bad blood between him and Chamberlain.
"I mean, you guys have written a lot about it, and I think it's just something that you guys keep going on and on about," Youkilis said. "We're here in spring training as a team and ready to play . . . so that's the drama that you guys are creating. I hope the only drama this year we create is walk-off home runs and hits."
The Yankees signed Youkilis in the offseason to play third because Alex Rodriguez is expected to miss much of the year after hip surgery. When Youkilis was with Boston, he and Chamberlain had several on-field incidents because Chamberlain either hit him with a pitch or came close. The pitcher was suspended for two games in 2007 after sailing a pair of 98-mph fastballs over Youkilis' head.
The story that the two still might harbor ill will received new life Jan. 22 at a charity event in Manhattan, when Chamberlain said a phone call made to Youkilis after he signed with the Yankees went unreturned.
Chamberlain last week said Youkilis reached out shortly after that story went viral. "He texted me," Chamberlain said then. "I'm not going to say what we said, but he texted me back . . . It's one of those things, people made it a bigger deal than it was."
Chamberlain and Youkilis apparently did not cross paths Thursday. Youkilis said he saw and spoke to several new teammates "in passing," but not Chamberlain.
"At some time, we'll all sit down and talk," Youkilis said. "But I think it's all going to be OK."
He smiled and added: "Don't worry."
Last week Chamberlain expressed the same opinion, saying, "There's nothing between us. We're on the same team. We're going to play to win. He's going to make a diving play at third when I'm pitching, I'm going to pat him on the butt, and we're going to get it going."
Youkilis also was asked about another past relationship, the one with Bobby Valentine. The two clashed early last season when Valentine was managing the Red Sox, and Youkilis eventually was traded to the White Sox. Boston's David Ortiz has said the team's failed 2012 season fell primarily at the feet of Valentine, but Youkilis didn't take the bait Thursday.
"That's his opinion," he said. "For me, as an individual, I know the problems I had playing baseball aren't on one person other than myself. When you don't individually do well, it's on yourself. There could be variables here and there, you can make excuses, but you've got to hold yourself accountable.
"And that team last year, you have to hold all yourselves accountable as a team -- it's not one player, it's not one coach, it's [not one] manager that's going to make or break the season."
With David Lennon