Youk ready to tackle third

The first baseman, at least for the last five years, is now ready to get back to third.

“I mean, there’s some stuff — you have to charge the ball a little bit more,” Youkilis said. “You get used to that right away. I think that’s one of the things you recognize and work on. I think, for me, from playing there a little bit last year in a couple of games, it just comes to you naturally when you play that position, you can’t sit back. When that’s in your mind already, I think, when you’re playing first base, you kind of get a little lazy, whereas at third base, you prepare. I knew that coming into spring training that I’d have to go get balls more. Mentally that’s already put in and taking groundballs yesterday that’s already come in.”

Youkilis has gotten to know Adrian Gonzalez a little the last few days, and looks forward to more interaction throughout the spring.

Mainly Boston’s cleanup man since Manny Ramirez was traded on July 31, 2008, Youkilis isn’t sure where he’ll wind up in this loaded lineup. He doesn’t much care either. “Anywhere second through ninth.”

The thumb injury that ended his 2010 season on Aug. 2? It’s no longer an issue.

“I feel great, my body is feeling good, my hand is feeling good. Just got in good shape like normal and I’m ready to play third base this year,” said Youkilis.

The Red Sox are holding their first pitchers and catchers workout as we speak. Josh Beckett will hold a press conference after the workout.

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