This is not exactly new, but I didn’t want to ignore it all offseason since it has clearly become part of the narrative.
Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long has been tinkering with Kevin Youkilis‘ swing before Spring Training even started.
“We looked at old film and compared it to 2012,” Long told Dan Martin of the NY Post. “We saw some considerable differences, mainly in his stance and it looked like the adjustments had an impact. … I think we can get him back to being an all-star caliber player.”
Youk went even further when discussing the swing with Jack Curry of the YES Network. He said that his hands will be lower, his legs will be wider apart, and he’ll be in more of a crouch.
It’s impossible to know if this is going to do anything, but it certainly couldn’t hurt. Youk is coming off his career worst season and played in just 122 games with a .235/.336/.409 line — all career lows. He is just one season removed from hitting .258/.373/.459 though and at 34-years-old he’ll actually be a relatively young Yankee. Maybe this can help get him back to that level.
I tend to think that Youkilis’ health is at least as important as tinkering with his swing. He’s had back and knee injuries over the past few years and been limited to just 120 games each season since 2009. If he could get through a whole season without nagging injuries, he would probably have no problem posting a line similar to this: .260/.360/.460.
Ideally it could be a little bit of both, a positive adjustment and a healthy season. That would obviously be a huge boost to the Yankees offense and give them a legit middle of the order bat. A prospect that is far from guaranteed.
• To put an end to silly controversy before it starts, Joba Chamberlain told Anthony McCarron of the NY Daily News that he’s heard from Youkilis, whom he had texted with no response earlier this offseason. The two have a history together with Joba being ejected twice for throwing at Youk’s head.