Kevin Youkilis is reuniting with Theo Epstein … in the Cubs front office.
Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports that Youkilis, who spent last season playing in Japan and officially announced his retirement in October, is joining the Cubs as a special assistant.
Youkilis was Boston’s eighth-round draft pick in 2001 and debuted for the Epstein-run Red Sox in 2004, emerging as one of the top hitters in the American League from 2006-2011. He was traded to the White Sox in mid-2012 and spent 2013 with the Yankees before going to Japan.
Roger Clemens will be an analyst for ESPN when the defending World Series champion Houston Astros host the Chicago White Sox on opening day.
Clemens made four appearances on last year’s KayRod Cast with Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez. He will be stepping in on March 30 for David Cone, who will be doing the New York Yankees opener against the San Francisco Giants on YES Network.
“Roger has been sort of a friend of ours for the last year, so to speak, he’s in. He’s been engaged, knowledgeable and really present,” said ESPN Vice President of Production Phil Orlins. “You know, whatever past may be, he’s still tremendously engaged and he really brought that every time he was with us.”
Clemens was a seven-time Cy Young winner but his career after baseball has been tainted by allegations of performance-enhancing drug use. He is a Houston native and pitched for the Astros for three seasons.
Orlins said that with the rules changes and pitch clock, it is important to have a pitcher in the booth with Karl Ravech and Eduardo Perez.
“We don’t feel like we have to have the dynamic of Eduardo with a pitcher, but we certainly think that works. Throw in the added factor of rule changes and it is better to have a batter-pitcher perspective,” Orlins said.
Orlins did not say if this would open the door for future opportunities for Clemens as an ESPN analyst.