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Youkilis reports for first day in pinstripes

TAMPA, Fla. -- If the reality of suiting up with a new team had not yet arrived for Kevin Youkilis, it certainly splashed in full color on Thursday when the new Yankees third baseman checked out his spring locker for the first time.

Youkilis dropped by George M. Steinbrenner Field and found his assigned space, already outfitted with a jersey bearing No. 36 and a few pairs of home white pants.

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When Yankees position players officially report to camp on Sunday, it will kick off Youkilis' first Spring Training as anything but a Red Sox, and the 33-year-old doesn't expect to take long to get acclimated.

"Got the number in there, got the pinstripes," Youkilis said. "It's definitely real. It's going to be an enjoyable time this year. I'm just going to try to go out there every day and play hard and try to win a World Series."

The clean-shaven Youkilis looked the part of someone arriving to fill in for the rehabbing Alex Rodriguez at third base, but Youkilis also made it clear that he is not trying to hide the years he spent in Boston.

"To negate all the years I played for the Boston Red Sox and all the tradition, you look at all the stuff I have piled up at my house and to say I'd just throw it out the window ... it's not true," Youkilis said. "I'll always be a Red Sock."

That comment might not endear Youkilis to the Yankees fan base, but Youkilis said that the half-season he spent with the White Sox last summer softened the blow when he considered switching sides of the rivalry.

"For me, it's just preparing to play baseball," Youkilis said. "No matter what jersey you have, you have to do the same things in Spring Training. This offseason, I didn't train to play for the Yankees. I was just training to get myself in baseball shape, so that's basically the outlook I have every offseason."

Youkilis will become the eighth member of the 2004 "Reverse the Curse" Red Sox to wear pinstripes, joining Mark Bellhorn, Johnny Damon, Doug Mientkiewicz, Derek Lowe, Mike Myers, Alan Embree and Ramiro Mendoza.

"Guys play on different teams and that's a part of your history," Youkilis said. "That's a part of your life and you can't change that. It was great years in Boston. One bad half-year doesn't take away from all the great years I had there and all the good things I've been able to along the way and accomplish as a team, as an individual. It was great."

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