The Yankees are clearly hoping that Kevin Youkilis can hold down the third base fort while Alex Rodriguez is on the shelf, but more than that they’ve also got to be hoping that Youkilis’ 2012 season was something of an aberration, and that Youkilis can return to being a very productive hitter who can help lengthen a lineup that’s taken a hit due to age, injury, and the departure of Nick Swisher. In the same article in which he discussed A-Rod’s injured hip, hitting coach Kevin Long revealed that he’s already working on Youkilis’ hitting mechanics, and that he hopes he can make major strides with the former Boston star.
“We looked at old film and compared it to 2012,” Long told Dan Martin of the 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.”
Youkilis had his worst year as a professional last season, and particularly struggled against right-handed pitchers, against whom he posted a wRC+ of just 89. On the bright side, however, he’s only two years removed from a very respectable .258/.373/.459 (126 wRC+) performance in 2011 and he remained a very patient hitter even through his struggles, so there’s plenty of reason to think that Youk still has a lot to offer a team, provided that he can stay healthy.
For more on Youkilis’ swing, see this excellent post by TYA’s Michael Eder from earlier this morning.