After signing with the New York Yankees, Kevin Youkilis will be switching sides in baseball's biggest rivalry after eight and a half seasons with the Boston Red Sox. To ease any tension and avoid controversy, Youkilis' biggest on-field rival, Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain, reached out to the veteran third baseman on Wednesday morning by leaving a voicemail.
The feud started in 2007, Chamberlain's rookie season, after he was suspended two games for throwing two fastballs over Youkilis' head. Chamberlain went up and in on Youkilis again in 2008, nearly causing a brawl as Youkilis started toward Chamberlain on the mound before being restrained.
Chamberlain's career has been up and down due to injuries since, but he did hit Youkilis with a pitch last season while Youkilis was playing for the Chicago White Sox as well. There was no controversy after the pitch, as Youkilis jogged down to first base.
Joba is now 27 years old and has matured since the early years of his career. Youkilis was willing to accept New York's one-year contract offer as well, so don't expect any chemistry issues to arise between Youk and his new teammates. In fact, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera is ready to support him this upcoming season.
"One thing I know is the guy plays hard," Rivera told the New York Post. "Yankee (fans) didn't like him but he was wearing a Red Sox uniform. I can't decide for them but he will be my teammate and I will respect him for that."
Youkilis, 33, will be filling in as New York's third baseman to start the season while Alex Rodriguez recovers from his upcoming hip surgery that could keep him out for four to six months. Once A-Rod returns, Youkilis can also back up Mark Teixeira at first base and provide home run power as a designated hitter.
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