Kevin Youkilis may have some ground to make up with Yankee fans, but Andy Pettitte loves the new guy already. And perhaps more significantly, he thinks Youkilis will give the Yankees something they need, adding some Paul O’Neill-like intensity on a daily basis.

“I’m not the manager but I feel like we could use some of that,” Pettitte was saying at his locker Friday. “I love it. I think it’s good to have someone a little edgy, someone on the edge out there. He’s one of those guys, when he’s on your team, you love him, and when he’s on the other team, you don’t like him very much. You need people like that, no doubt about it.”

What the Yankees really needed the last couple of post-seasons were more clutch hits, and it remains to be seen if Youkilis can help in that area. But Pettitte’s point is well-taken: recent Yankee teams have tended too look passive at times, and maybe they could use someone to agitate the enemy or even wake up teammates occasionally with a flash of temper or an extra-hard slide to break up a double play.

Suffice to say Youkilis has already stirred up the fans by saying on his first day in Yankee camp that he would always be a “Red Sock.” Maybe it wasn’t the wisest way to say hello to New York, but at least he was smart enough to seek out reporters on Friday and clarify it, explaining that he didn’t mean it quite the way it sounded.