Teammates of Kevin Youkilis were waiting to razz him when the third baseman walked into the New York Yankees clubhouse on Friday in Tampa, Fla.
Youkilis made the back page of two New York tabloids for telling reporters at his first day of spring training that "I'll always be a Red Sox."
"I was basically defining that, as a player, I'll be a Red Sox, and a White Sox, and a Yankee for life," Youkilis said Friday. "Three storied franchises. I'm excited to be part of this, and be with the Yankees.
"Trust me, there's no way that was meant to say my heart is in Boston or anything like that. My heart is here with the Yankees."
After spending 8 1/2 years in Boston and winning a pair of World Series titles, Youkilis was traded from the Red Sox to the Chicago White Sox last June. He signed with the Yankees in December.
Youkilis admitted the comment "by itself looks terrible."
"I've got to watch what I say," Youkilis said. "It hit me hard."
Youkilis took part in his first workout with the Yankees on Thursday after flying from California to Tampa.
"I think guys are having fun with it, joking around," Youkilis said.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi got a big smile when asked about his new infielder getting so much recognition early on with the team.
The manager joked that Youkilis maybe missed the Yankees' media training session
"I talked to him and I saw his comment," Girardi said. "You just can't erase eight years of anyone's life, that's the bottom line. I know he's happy to be here, and I know he's going to bring it every day. I didn't have a problem with what he said."
A three-time All-Star, Youkilis figures to be the Yankees' starting third baseman for at least the first half of the season while Alex Rodriguez recovers from hip surgery. Youkilis agreed to a $12 million, one-year contract.
Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera apologized Friday for taking performance-enhancing drugs in 2012 while he was with San Francisco, and said he blames no one but himself. He declined to address questions about his role with Biognesis, the anti-aging Miami clinic which allegedly provided performance-enhancing drugs to athletes, but the Blue Jays are convinced he will not be further suspended.
"He made a big mistake last year, and he understands that and paid the price for it," said Blue Jays third base coach Luis Rivera, who acted as interpreter during Cabrera's press conference. "He knows that he made a huge mistake. It was very hard for him and his family."