TAMPA, Fla. -- Kevin Youkilis' teammates were waiting to razz him when the third baseman walked into the New York Yankees clubhouse on Friday.
Youkilis made the back page of two New York newspapers for telling reporters at his first day of spring training that "I'll always be a Red Sock."
"I was basically defining that, as a player, I'll be a Red Sock, and a White Sock, and a Yankee for life," Youkilis said Friday. "Three storied franchises. I'm excited to be part of this, and be with the Yankees.
"Trust me, there's no way that was meant to say my heart is in Boston or anything like that. My heart is here with the Yankees."
After spending 8 12 years in Boston and winning a pair of World Series titles, Youkilis was traded from the Red Sox to the Chicago White Sox last June. He signed with the Yankees in December.
Youkilis admitted the comment "by itself looks terrible."
"I've got to watch what I say," Youkilis said. "It hit me hard."
Youkilis took part in his first workout with the Yankees on Thursday after flying from California to Tampa.
"I think guys are having fun with it, joking around," Youkilis said.
A three-time All-Star, Youkilis figures to be the Yankees' starting third baseman for at least the first half of the season while Alex Rodriguez recovers from hip surgery. Youkilis agreed to a 12 million, one-year contract.
New York will host the Red Sox in the regular-season opener at Yankee Stadium on April 1.
"I'm excited to play against them Opening Day," Youkilis said. "I'm excited to put on the pinstripes, the full pinstripes."