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Youkilis ready to go 'wherever I'm told'

04/01/2013 6:43 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Kevin Youkilis went 1-for-4 with a run scored in his Yankees debut on Opening Day.(AP)
Back in December, the Yankees signed Kevin Youkilis to a one-year deal to play third base for the majority of the season, in a sense filling in for Alex Rodriguez while A-Rod recovered from off-season hip surgery.

But as spring progressed and injuries changed the makeup of what would be the Yankees' Opening Day roster, many began to speculate that Youkilis would, at least once in a while, slide back to first base -where he won an AL Gold Glove in 2006 - as part of the rotation to replace an injured Mark Teixeira.

Manager Joe Girardi confirmed that during the spring by having Youkilis play first a handful of times in Grapefruit League play, and there was a No. 3 penciled in alongside the newcomer's name on the Opening Day lineup card.

The Yankees added Lyle Overbay during the final week of Spring Training to do the majority of the work at first in Teixeira's stead. The plan, Girardi admitted prior to Monday's game, is to have Youkilis play first against lefties with Jayson Nix at third and the lefty-swinging Overbay on the bench. Youkilis will likely get a few turns as the designated hitter early on, and Girardi wasn't concerned about the positional ping-pong affecting one of his new additions.

"He's okay. I think he just wants to play," Girardi said. "As we get going, he'll know exactly what he's going to do; if I choose to give him a DH'ing day or give him a day off, I'll keep him well informed."

On Monday, Youkilis' assignment actually changed mid-game, as Overbay pinch-hit for Nix in the sixth inning and stayed in the game, moving Youk to the hot corner. That's something that could happen more often in the early going, Girardi said, but Youkilis wasn't fazed by the thought at all.

"Wherever they tell me to play I'm going to play; I've always done that in my career, and I always will," Youkilis said.

No matter what he does the rest of the season, however, Youkilis did get one other honor on Monday: he scored the Yankees' first run of 2013, scoring (along with fellow newcomer Vernon Wells) on Francisco Cervelli's RBI single in the fourth inning.

Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES

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