TAMPA, Fla. -- That didn't take long.
One day in camp, splashy tabloid headlines the next morning.
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That's what greeted new Yankees third baseman Kevin Youkilis on Friday morning, a day after his "I'll always be a Red Sock" comments Thursday raised some eyebrows among fans and media -- even though the remarks simply reflected a basic fact about his career.
Still, he arrived early Friday to a heavy dose of razzing from his new teammates.
Which teammates were on his case? " 'Who isn't?' is [the better question]," Youkilis said. "The young guys aren't getting on me. That's about it."
Just before the clubhouse opened Friday , Youkilis sought out reporters to clarify what he had said. "The one comment alone looks bad,'' he said. "Let's be honest; the comment by itself looks terrible."
Speaking the day before, he said: "I'll always be a Red Sock. That's a part of your history. That's a part of your life. You can't change that. One bad half-year doesn't take away from all the great years I had there and all the good things I've been able to do along the way."
On Friday, he said that shouldn't have been interpreted as anything but an acknowledgment of the obvious -- that he spent the bulk of his career with the Red Sox, more than eight seasons, before being traded to the White Sox early last year after a conflict with then-Boston manager Bobby Valentine.
(In April, Valentine was quoted as saying, "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," a remark that caused an uproar in Boston and upset veteran teammates such as Dustin Pedroia.)
That didn't spoil Youkilis' time in Boston, but he's clearly moved on. "Trust me, there's no way that was meant to say my heart's in Boston or anything like that," he said. "My heart's here with the Yankees, and I'm excited about it . . . I think the Yankees fans are going to love the fact that every day I'm going to go out and bust my butt and get dirty on the field and do all that stuff. My heart's in New York. I'm excited. I'm excited to live in the city, I'm excited for the whole experience. It wasn't anything in that light, saying my heart's there. It's just basically saying that's my history and I can't take away my history."