TAMPA, Fla. — Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain says he’s received a text message from new teammate Kevin Youkilis and hopes whatever tension existed between the two is past.
When the Yankees played the Red Sox, Chamberlain and Youkilis feuded over inside fastballs. After Youkilis agreed to join the Yankees in December, the pitcher left him a voice mail. Chamberlain said in January that he had not heard back, but said Tuesday he had received a text.
"It’s one of those things where people made it a bigger deal than it was," Chamberlain said after working out at the Yankees’ minor league complex. "There’s nothing to it. There’s nothing between us. I’m glad to have him on our side. We’re two grown men. We’re playing on the same team. Our one goal is to win."
A three-time All-Star, Youkilis takes over at third base from Alex Rodriguez, expected to be sidelined until at least the All-Star break following hip surgery.
"I would rather, me, knock it out and get it out of the way," Chamberlain said. "Let him do his business. Focus on playing. He’s going to have questions enough of filling Alex’s shoes, and this, that and other things."
Chamberlain, who started last season on the disabled list because of elbow-ligament replacement surgery and a broken ankle, threw 31 pitches during his initial outdoor bullpen session. He is eligible for free agency after the World Series.
"It’s been a great off-season just to be able to workout, play catch, and have no limitations," Chamberlain said.
NOTES: SS Derek Jeter (ankle) spent just two over hours at the complex but did not field grounders. … Reliever David Robertson has no doubt that 43-year-old closer Mariano Rivera, coming back from knee surgery, will be fine this season. "I expect him to be Mariano Rivera … to be the same nasty closer he’s always been," Robertson said. "I don’t think anything is going to change." … RHP Michael Pineda (shoulder surgery) threw 25 pitches during his third session off a 5-inch half mound. He is expected to be sidelined until at least June.