NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Yankees third baseman Kevin Youkilis takes pride in the way he hits, in the way he fields and in the way he hustles.
He also takes pride in his religion, which is Judaism.
“The Jewish heritage thing has had such a huge impact on my whole entire career,” Youkilis told the YES Network’s Jack Curry. “Requests my agent gets — Bar Mitzvahs, weddings, you name it. It’s a big thing, and it means a lot to a lot of Jewish youth and the Jewish community. I try to embrace it as much as I can, and I wish I could go to as many Bar and Bat Mitzvahs as possible, but the schedule doesn’t allow for it.”
The three-time All-Star is one of only a handful of Jewish players in the big leagues.
“It’s kind of fun around the league,” Youkilis admitted. “When I see Ryan Braun, Ian Kinsler and other guys, we kind of joke around.”
The two-time World Series champion has been in the league since 2004, but he believes that his Jewish background will be much more in the spotlight in the Big Apple than it was in Boston and Chicago.
“I know in New York it’s going to be larger than life, because I think this is the first time in many years that a Jewish ballplayer will be playing for the Yankees,” Youkilis told Curry. “But what greater honor than to be in a city with probably the biggest population of Jewish people in America?”
Youkilis struggled in 2012, spending time with both the Red Sox and White Sox. In 122 games he batted .235 with 19 home runs and 60 RBIs. But despite his drop-off in production last season, the veteran is confident that he’ll regain his form in the Bronx.
“I think I’m going to be the same guy that I was throughout my whole career,” Youkilis said. ”I’m going to be a guy who’s going to hustle, who’s going to play as hard as he can every single day. I’m going to try to find every little edge that I can take to get our team to win by working the count when I have to work the count, and just giving 100 percent every day. That’s what I’m going to bring to the table every single day.”
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