YES Network reporter Jack Curry recently visited with new damn Yankee infielder Kevin Youkilis at a golf course for a video interview.
It seemed the right location to talk about Youk's new job as A-Rod's replacement at third base in the Bronx, getting married to Tom Brady's sister, Youk's Jewish heritage and, of course, his unique batting stance — which is undergoing a reconstruction.
In 2012, Youkilis posted career lows across the board with the Red Sox and White Sox and, though he blames himself for the falloff, he told Curry the pitiful attempts at motivation by Boston manager Bobby Valentine "didn't help," and neither did getting traded away from his (biological) family, which added a baby boy in September.
Youkilis also says he's getting back to a less-exaggerated batting stance than what we've become accustomed to. At the behest of the Yankees hitting coach, it will look much more like "2008" than 2012, Youkilis said as he demonstrated the differences.
"Kevin Long would be p-ssed if I do it," even as a demonstration, Youkilis said. Here are the details anyway, because he's a mensch:
• A wider, more athletic "linebacker" -type foot position, to achieve better balance.
• Starting the stance with his hands lower and bringing them up just above helmet level, instead of way over his head.
• A shorter stride toward the pitcher as the forward motion of the swing begins.
• His hands also appear to be a little closer together on the handle; Youkilis almost looked like he was holding a pool cue before. And he's positioning the handle closer to the plate.
The old stance, Youkilis said, would lead to too many weak grounders to third and pop-ups to right field. At age 34 (which he turns in March), it's time for something different.
Another interesting facet of the chat: Youkilis's agent gets hounded with requests for Youk to attend (probably for a fee) Jewish weddings and bar mitzvahs. It's too bad "the schedule doesn't allow for" him to attend more, Youkilis said. Now that he's playing for a New York team, requests are only going to get more voluminous, with Youkilis being the Yankees' first Jewish player in a while, he said. There sure haven't been many in history.
It also will be odd to watch Youkilis play baseball without his hairy face. Perhaps he'll grow a mustache for opening day.