"I'll always be a Red Sock."
There goes Kevin Youkilis, immediately endearing himself to the Yankee faithful. The longtime Boston Red Sox fan favorite who joined the rival New York Yankees in the offseason isn't starting off on the right foot in Yanks camp.
That really has to be one of the oddest transitions in sports. Yet in a Yankees offseason that's included Biogenesis, mending versions of Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, Mark Teixera saying he's paid too much and every baseball know-it-all calling them "too old," the Boston-New York transformation of Youkilis hadn't registered the controversy it might have in another year.
All Youkilis had to do was shut up and ... oh, wait. Oops. Youkilis dropped into training camp on Thursday and unloaded that first faux pas while speaking to the New York Daily News.
Here are the full comments from Youk, so you can judge it in full context:
“To negate all the years I played for the Boston Red Sox and all the tradition, you look at all the stuff I have piled up at my house, to say I’d just throw it out the window, that’s not true. I’ll always be a Red Sock.
“Guys play on different teams and that’s a part of your history; that’s a part of your life and you can’t change that. It was great years in Boston. 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 and accomplish as a team, as an individual. It was great."
He's right, of course, coming to New York doesn't just wipe away his history. Just like a guy getting a new girlfriend doesn't wipe out his past girlfriends. But you don't tell the new girlfriend that on your first date.
Youkilis can't give that fan base, and that New York media, any ammunition to use against him if, say, he starts the first month of the season hitting .210 and striking out twice a game.
The New York Daily News story also quotes Youk as saying he's not A-Rod and he's not trying to take Alex Rodriguez's place. Youk, stick to that story. Nobody can blame you for not wanting to be that guy right now.
Full speed ahead for Josh Hamilton, Angels: In Tempe on Thursday, the Los Angeles Angels showed off their new Halo'd trio of stars -- Josh Hamilton, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. It won't be the last time this season the rest of baseball looked at the three of them and said, "No, please no, don't hurt us."
Yahoo! Sports' Tim Brown was at the Angels' press conference and files this:
Hamilton said he loved Texas, but wasn't really thinking about that anymore, because he's an Angel now.
Trout said he was proud of his rookie season and wasn't really thinking about that anymore, because, sure enough, there's another season to play.
And Pujols said he wasn't terribly pleased with the way he started last season, but he wasn't really thinking about that anymore because he's got knee surgery from which to recover, and that'll be fine. Besides he's concentrating on being ready for opening day.
These are the conversations taking place over 30 camps, and yet the Angels bring a special urgency to their moving on. They've underachieved three years running. Unless your past comes with a banner, it has a nasty way of pine-tarring itself to everything you do, and how the world views what you do, and whether your organization can ever solve its bullpen problem.
And here, via the MLB, you can watch the three of them talking:
Melky Cabrera arrives in camp, issues statement: Outfielder Melky Cabrera, a new Toronto Blue Jay and poster boy for midseason PED busts, was in the full PR mode on Friday morning as he arrived in camp. We got the usual: He's sorry. He's focused on this year. He wants to go to the World Series.
Here's the more current part of his statement:
"I am aware that in the past weeks, there have been news articles written about so-called patient files from a Miami clinic, and the MLB and others are investigating those allegations. I have told MLB I will cooperate in their investigation the best I can, just as my legal counsel has told federal investigators. I have been instructed by legal counsel not to answer questions relating to the pending investigations. This statement will be the last comment I will make on the events of the 2012 season. I have put my mistakes behind me, have learned my lesson, and have served my punishment.
"I am here to play the best baseball I can to help the Toronto Blue Jays win a World Championship."
A's closer Grant Balfour has knee surgery: No raging for four to six weeks for Oakland Athletics closer Grant Balfour. The fan favorite -- known for yelling on the mound -- had minor knee surgery on Thursday that will keep him sidelined during spring, but he should be ready to go for opening day.
''I feel good about getting it done now,'' Balfour said. ''It will allow me to get ready for Game 1 of the season. I knew the way I was feeling I wouldn't have been able to pitch through it all season long.''
Tweet of the Day: From St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Jason Motte:
Dear fan at gate that boo'ed me for not stopping to sign, My wife has a 103 temp & a screaming 5 wk old n the car. Thanks for understanding
— Jason Motte (@JMotte30) February 14, 2013
Visions of spring, We leave with with this artsy shot from Cardinals training camp:
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