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Pending physical, Youk will be a Yank

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Free agent Kevin Youkilis, who struck fear and loathing in the hearts of New Yorkers during an All-Star career with the Boston Red Sox, is joining the Yankees.

Sports Illustrated and other news outlets reported this evening (12/11/2012) that the 33-year-old infielder has accepted a one-year, $12-million contract. The deal is contingent on the oft-injured Youkilis passing a physical.

Youk is expected to fill the third-base hole left by Alex Rodriguez, who’s likely to miss up to half the season due to hip surgery. He’s the 7th member of the Boston’s 2004 World Series-winning roster to join the Yankees, SI said.

Youk entertained a two-year, $18-million competing offer from the Cleveland Indians. He spent part of the 2012 season with the Chicago White Sox.

In other baseball news, the Los Angeles Angels picked up minor-league prospect Robbie Widlansky¬†from the Baltimore Orioles, who left the 28-year-old OF/1B unprotected in the Triple-A phase of last week’s Rule 5 draft. Widlansky had a terrific 2012 season with the O’s Double-A club, hitting .316 with 8 HRs, 83 RBIs, 35 doubles, 11 stolen bases in 14 tries, and a .404 on-base percentage. He likely will begin the 2012 season with the Salt Lake Bees (AAA).

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JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Milwaukee Brewers LF Ryan Braun clubbed 2 HRs in Friday night’s 6-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds — and launched himself into the record books.

Braun’s HRs (see video) were his 29th and 30th of the season. Combined with his 31 stolen bases, Braun now joins one of the most exclusive groups in baseball history: the 30/30 club. He is just the 36th player in MLB history, and the second Brewer, to have at least 30 HRs and 30 stolen bases in a single season.

Remarkably, three of the 36 club members are Jewish. RF Shawn Green had 35 HRs and 35 stolen bases for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1998, while Texas Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler had 31 HRS and 31 stolen bases in 2009. Jewish fans will also appreciate that Braun is the 36th club member — 36 being double ‘chai.’

Speaking of Kinsler, the 29-year-old is threatening to become a 2-time member of the 30/30 club. With 11 games remaining in the 2011 season, he has 29 HRs and 25 stolen bases.

The 30/30 club’s 36 members have accomplished the feat a total of 55 times. The all-time leaders are father/son duo Bobby Bonds and Barry Bonds, who had five 30/30 seasons apiece. The leader among active players is Chicago Cubs LF Alfonso Soriano, who has accomplished the feat four times for three different teams.

Soriano belong to an even more exclusive club. He is one of just four players in MLB history with at least 40 HRs and stolen bases in the same season, having accomplished the feat in 2006 with the Washington Nationals. The three other members Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, and Alex Rodriguez.

Also joining the 30/30 club this season is Los Angeles Dodgers CF Matt Kemp.

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