The Youkilis deal is still pending a physical, but the YES Network’s Jack Curry is already out with the first ball-washing article, entitled Kevin Youkilis: Shades of Paul O’Neill

The comparison is there, even if some Yankee fans are reticent to concede it. When you watch Kevin Youkilis moan about a close call, fling his bat or go into a dugout rage after an out, you should be reminded of another fiery player from the recent past. You should see shades of Paul O’Neill.

Before some of the O’Neill acolytes explode, relax. This doesn’t mean Youkilis and O’Neill are exactly the same player with the exact accomplishments. Of course, they’re not. What it means is that Youkilis and O’Neill share the same style for playing baseball with an intensity that’s visible to everyone and with an approach that chases perfection.

Youkilis is a Yankee because the Yankees needed him, needed someone reliable to fill in until Rodriguez returns from hip surgery. If you watch Youkilis play, you will see an ornery guy who doesn’t care if the other team dislikes him. Youkilis once told me that “other teams aren’t supposed to like you.” There’s something for Yankee fans to like about Youkilis now. Look closely. He’ll remind you of O’Neill.

Hey, we think Youkilis will be good for the Yankees, but can we see what he does first before we anoint him as the next Paul O’Neill?

Jack, please remove your nose from Hal’s anus. Thank you.