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Kevin Youkilis: ‘I’m proud to be a Yankee’

02.15.13 at 11:47 am ET
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Kevin Youkilis came under fire for professing loyalty to the Red Sox during his first day at Yankees spring training. (AP)

Kevin Youkilis‘ first day in Yankees camp was an interesting one, with the former Red Sox star saying Thursday, “I’ll always be a Red Sock,” and admitting that he still had not met face to face with longtime adversary and new teammate Joba Chamberlain.

Youkilis took a new approach Friday, acknowledging that his comment about his devotion to Boston wouldn’t gain him many fans in New York.

“Let’s be honest, I mean, the comment by itself looks terrible, but that was not what it was meant to be,” he told the media in Tampa, Fla.

“I went on ESPN,” Youkilis added. “I said, ‘Oh my God,’ that does not look good. It is one of those things that you have to take with a grain of salt. It wasn’t meant to be like that. It was talking about the history of who I am.”

Youkilis also got some ribbing from Yankees veterans like Andy Pettitte, who chuckled about the New York Post back cover that showed Youkilis with the headline “Red Blooded.”

“The back page was right there and I was getting ragged on pretty good,” Youkilis said.

Youkilis did his best to soothe New Yorkers who might question his loyalty.

“I’m a Yankee today and I’m excited,” he stated. “I’m proud to be a Yankee.”

Added Youkilis: “I think the Yankee fans are going to love the fact that every day I’m going to bust my butt and get dirty on the field and do all that stuff. It wasn’t meant to be anything like, ‘My heart is in Boston,’ because honestly it wasn’t there. My heart is in New York. I’m excited to live in the city. I’m excited for the whole experience.”

Youkilis also finally met with Chamberlain, who left a voicemail for Youkilis in December that went unanswered.

“I said hi to Joba today,” Youkilis said. “We shook hands. He is growing a mustache. Tomorrow, we’ll hug. It will all be fun. Everything is good. Life is good. There is no reason to get all worked up on the second day.”

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