Youkilis excited for first Opening Day in pinstripes

Youkilis excited for first Opening Day in pinstripes

TAMPA, Fla. -- Kevin Youkilis probably turned some of those boos he heard early this spring into "Youks," entering play on Thursday leading the Yankees in home runs (five) and RBIs (13).

Actually, Youkilis can't be sure about that, since it's a challenge to tell the difference.

"Like I've said, I can't tell if they're screaming, 'Youk,' half the time anyway," Youkilis said.

But the former Red Sox star has heard fewer jeers coming from the home crowds in camp, and that has to be a good sign as he prepares for his first Opening Day in pinstripes.

"It's going to be fun going to Yankee Stadium," Youkilis said. "The fans, before, there was a lot more hatred, and hopefully now there'll be a lot more excitement.

"It'll be good. I've got my family in town, they're excited. This year's a new beginning, full of new opportunities, and hopefully great things will happen in the end."

Youkilis will see some familiar faces in the visiting dugout on April 1, as the Yankees open their 162-game regular-season schedule by facing the Red Sox. Youkilis said that opening up against Boston makes little difference to him.

"It doesn't really matter either way," Youkilis said. "I think just going to play at Yankee Stadium for the first time [as a Yankee] is going to be a cool thing, especially playing on Opening Day with probably some old timers coming back. That's always cool to see."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.