Tag:Michael Young
Posted on: October 26, 2011 7:16 pm
 

Washington: Win a trophy, challenge Cowboys

ST. LOUIS -- Ron Washington grew up in football country, in Louisiana. He works in football country, in Texas.

The Rangers manager has heard people say that baseball can never replace football in that part of the world.

"The only way it can get there," Washington said Wednesday, "we've got to bring home the World Series trophy."

The Rangers are a win away from doing that. They lead the World Series, three games to two, heading into Thursday's rain-delayed Game 6.

But who knows if even one World Series title would change anything in Texas.

"You think the Mavs are bigger than the Cowboys?" Michael Young asked. "The Mavs deserve a ton of credit. They've been on a great run for years, and they went out and beat a great Miami team to win a championship.

"The Cowboys are the top team for a reason, because they've got a ton of rings. It doesn't both us. To be honest, I'm a Cowboys fan. But I'm pretty sure if you asked our crowd in the Metroplex, they're pretty fired up about our baseball team right now."

There's no doubt about that. Whether or not it really was the Rangers Ballpark noise that led to the Cardinals' Game 5 bullpen blunders, there's no doubt that it was loud.

"They continue to raise the bar," Young said. "It was just crazy for every game."

As crazy as it would be for the Cowboys?

Not yet, maybe not ever. Or maybe a World Series trophy changes it.
Posted on: October 15, 2011 11:40 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2011 11:42 pm
 

Who needs starters? Rangers in World Series again

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers needed one great starting pitcher to get to the World Series last year.

They needed no great starters to get them there again.

No great starters (and no Cliff Lee), but a great bullpen.

And a great lineup, led by the great Nelson Cruz, who out-Reggie'd Reggie and became the first player ever with six home runs in a postseason series.

To close out an American League Championship Series full of tense games, the Rangers turned Game 6 into a pennant-clinching blowout early on Saturday night, scoring nine times in the third inning alone to send a tough but ultimately overmatched Tiger team home for the winter. The Rangers went on to win 15-5, and (no surprise) Cruz was named the series Most Valuable Player.

The Rangers are the AL's first repeat champions since the Yankees' four-year run from 1997-2001, and they'll try to become the first team since the 1988-89 A's to win a World Series a year after losing one.

They got there last year with Lee leading a strong rotation. They got there this year despite a rotation that has been subpar from the moment the playoffs began.

Against the Tigers, the four Ranger starters combined for a 6.59 ERA. They still haven't thrown a pitch in the seventh inning in 10 postseason games, and have averaged fewer than five innings a start.

Saturday, manager Ron Washington pulled Derek Holland two outs into the fifth inning, with the Rangers holding a 9-4 lead.

Holland started twice in the ALCS, lasting just 7 1/3 innings in the two starts combined while giving up seven runs.

The Rangers won both of his starts.

But enough about what went wrong for the Rangers, because basically everything except for the starting pitching went right. What went most right Saturday was the Rangers' deep lineup, and especially cleanup hitter Michael Young.

Young doubled two times in the third inning alone, and later added a home run.

The other thing that went right the entire series, and for that matter the entire postseason so far: The Ranger bullpen.

In fact, for all the talk about the injuries that hurt the Tigers, the biggest difference between these two teams was that Washington had multiple relievers he could trust, and Tigers manager Jim Leyland basically had just two.

Look at Game 2, when Washington pulled Holland in the third inning with the Rangers down 3-2. The Tigers didn't score again, and the Rangers won on Cruz's 11th-inning grand slam.

In Saturday's Game 6, Leyland pulled Max Scherzer in the third inning with the Tigers down 3-2. The Rangers scored six more times in that inning alone.

The Rangers' top four relievers -- Neftali Feliz, Mike Adams, Alexi Ogando and Scott Feldman -- were all brilliant in the series. The Tigers had Jose Valverde, Joaquin Benoit, and little else.

Last year, the Rangers rode strong starting pitching into the World Series, and lost when their starters got outpitched by the Giants once they got there.

This year, they won a different way.

The big thing is they won, and they're going back, to begin play Wednesday night in either St. Louis or Milwaukee.

This is a franchise that had no World Series appearances through its first 49 years, through two cities and 23 managers.

Now they have two straight.

One with Cliff Lee. One without him.


Posted on: April 25, 2011 7:16 pm
 

Despite .145 start, Dunn 'all-in' as Sox DH

NEW YORK -- In his first year as a full-time designated hitter, Adam Dunn is hitting .145. He has two hits, and 15 strikeouts, in his last 30 at-bats.

Maybe there's a connection there, especially for a guy who for a long time said he didn't want to be a DH.

Dunn doesn't accept that.

"It's a learning experience, but it's something I want to be good at," he said Monday. "It's a learning process, and I'm committed. I'm going to be good at it."

It may be that Dunn's slump is more related to the appendectomy that cost him seven days in early April than it is to his new role. In the four games he played before the appendectomy, Dunn was 4-for-14 with a home run and five RBI.

But Dunn admitted that the transition to DH isn't easy, and said he's still trying to develop a routine that works for him.

He's not alone. Dunn is one of four AL players adjusting to a DH role for a first time, and perhaps it's no coincidence that he and the Yankees' Jorge Posada (.153) entered play Monday with the fourth- and fifth-worst batting averages for players with 60 or more plate appearances.

Meanwhile, Victor Martinez was hitting .250 when he went on the disabled list with the Tigers, while Michael Young is off to a fast start (.356, 12 RBI) with the Rangers.

In any case, Dunn said, he has no regrets about signing as a DH.

"I'm committed," he said. "I'm all-in."


Posted on: April 15, 2011 6:05 pm
Edited on: April 15, 2011 6:08 pm
 

Rangers need Michael Young -- he's hitting third

NEW YORK -- Want to know how much the Rangers need Michael Young?

Look at the lineup card.

With Josh Hamilton out for 6-8 weeks, Young has taken over the third spot in the Texas lineup. And manager Ron Washington plans to leave him there for a while.

"It may change, but right now, he's hitting third," Washington said Friday. "Look at the numbers. He's always been productive."

Young hit second for most of last year, but Washington wants to keep Elvis Andrus in the second spot now, behind leadoff man Ian Kinsler. He said he likes Andrus' ability to bunt or hit and run.

"If Michael Young [hits second], am I going to want to give up his at-bat with a bunt?" Washington asked.

Young's position with the Rangers was in doubt over the winter, when the Rangers signed Adrian Beltre to be their third baseman. At one point, the Rangers tried to trade Young. At another point, he asked them to trade him.

Now, two weeks into the season, he's hitting third, hitting .333.

Young has hit third many times before, but he batted there only twice all of last season. Now he has hit there in back-to-back games.

"I don't really care where I hit," Young said. "Every spot's significant."

Young was the Rangers' designated hitter Friday, for the ninth time in the first 13 games of the season. Young has started every game, playing second base three times and first base once.

"I'm trying each week, each series, to get him on the field," Washington said.

Young said he is adjusting to the DH role by not adjusting.

"I don't pretend to think I've figured it out," he said. "But I'm not going to make a preemptive adjustment. For the most part, I've stayed in the dugout, watched the game and supported our pitcher."

Young expressed confidence that the Rangers will overcome the loss of Hamilton.

"That's the way this team is," he said. "We don't think about things that go wrong. We're not wired that way."

And, just as those who know him predicted, Young has not turned his situation into a distraction that would hurt the team.

"I think he's handled [the DH role] how you'd expect Michael Young to handle it," Washington said. "It's an adjustment, but he wants to win."


Category: MLB
Posted on: February 19, 2011 11:58 am
Edited on: February 19, 2011 4:25 pm
 

The latest on Michael Young

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Michael Young is here. Michael Young says he's ready for what he calls his "favorite time of the year."

Is Michael Young happy?

That's a lot harder to say.

Young spoke for about 25 minutes this afternoon, after arriving at Rangers camp a day before the team begins full-squad spring training workouts. He revealed that he has had what he called "very candid and truthful" conversations with team president Nolan Ryan, made it clear that his relationship with general manager Jon Daniels has not been repaired, called his situation "less than ideal" and then said he's prepared for spring training to begin.

"One thing I'll never do is disrupt my teammates' preparation for the season," Young said. "Once we step foot in spring training, it's not about me anymore. It's about the team."

But it's what Young didn't say that was just as revealing.

He wouldn't say whether he would still prefer to be traded.

Young expressed disappointment that his initial trade request became public, and said that he wants to keep all further conversations with the team confidential. Young said that he believed his position had been misrepresented, and that he had never changed his mind about his willingness to accept a role as a designated hitter and super-utility player, after the Rangers signed Adrian Beltre to take his job at third base.

It's not clear how hard the Rangers have tried to trade Young, but it is highly unlikely that he'll be dealt before opening day, given the Rangers' desire that any deal doesn't weaken their team for 2011.

Asked if Young will be in the opening day lineup, Daniels quickly said: "That's my expectation."

"Mine, too," Ryan added.

Will he be happy with a role that includes time at first base, second base and third base, but where his primary job is as the Rangers' DH?

Good question.

Ryan said that in his conversations with Young, one thing the player went back to is that "he does not feel he's at the point in his career that he wants to be a DH."

Young has three years and $48 million remaining on his contract, and executives involved in talks with the Rangers have suggested that Texas would likely need to pay half of that money in order to make a deal. Even then, the executives suggested, the Rangers wouldn't get value for value, and thus would hurt their chances of winning this year.

Manager Ron Washington said again today that while he'll use Young as a DH and around the infield, as of now he has no plans to use him in the outfield. Young did say that he was open to playing the outfield.

Washington also said he saw no problem getting Young enough at-bats.

"I can't sit here and give you percentages," Washington said. "But Michael will play."

In his remarks today, Young expressed his love for Washington, and for his teammates. He didn't say much at all about Daniels, except to say that the two haven't talked and that Young has no plans for that to change.

"It is not on my priority list at all," he said.

Daniels declined to respond, other than to say: "To some degree, my integrity has been called into question, and I don't take that lightly. We're going to let it pass, wear it, so to speak."

As far as Washington is concerned, though, the more important thing is that, at least for now, he can think about putting Young in his everyday lineup.

"The bottom line is he's here," Washington said. "He's going to help us win. That's what it's all about."


Posted on: February 17, 2011 11:38 am
Edited on: February 17, 2011 1:43 pm
 

Can Young remain with Rangers? Sure, why not?

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- More and more, it looks like Michael Young will begin spring training as a Ranger.

More and more, it's easy to think that Young will end spring training as a Ranger, too.

And more and more, it seems that is the Rangers' best-case scenario, rather than the worst.

Young hasn't yet arrived at the Rangers' complex in Surprise, but that's not newsworthy. The Rangers don't begin full-squad workouts until Sunday, and Young wouldn't have been expected to show up earlier than that, trade request or no trade request.

Is there still a chance the Rangers trade him before Sunday?

Sure, but the chances of that are slim, and not just because time is running out. The bigger issue is that the Rangers aren't willing now to make a trade that makes their 2011 team worse, and the $48 million remaining on Young's contract makes it next to impossible to construct a trade that doesn't make the Rangers worse.

One rival executive suggested that the Rangers would need to pay at least half of the remaining money just to make a trade, and even then they would be unlikely to get equal value in return.

The Rangers' current strategy, instead, is to bring Young to camp, meet with him, and hope that the more he's around his teammates, the more the situation will calm itself down and the more willing he'll be to accept his new role as a designated hitter and super-utility player.

While Young hasn't yet spoken publicly, there are already indications he's on the way to accepting that.

Teammate and friend Ian Kinsler, who said he has spoken to Young recently, quickly dismissed any suggestion that Young won't show up as scheduled on Sunday.

"Absolutely [he'll be here]," Kinsler said. "This isn't DeSean Jackson, Manny Ramirez or Michael Vick. This is Michael Young. Michael Young is a professional."

Take that to mean that Young will show up on time. Take that also to mean that Young won't pout when he does arrive, and that he's a lot more likely to be a team leader than a team distraction.

"As long as he's here, he's going to be the same guy we've known," Kinsler said. "He's going to be motivated. He's going to be a leader."

Manager Ron Washington agrees.

"Michael has a presence, and that won't change," Washington said.

The plan for now is for Young to be the Rangers' primary designated hitter, but he'll also work out this spring at first base, second base and third base. He'll likely play all three positions during the season, with playing time at each dependent on injuries and possibly on how well Mitch Moreland does as the regular first baseman.

The key for the Rangers is that having Young's bat in the lineup makes them better, and trading him almost certainly would make them worse.

They're better off with him, assuming he's willing. They're better off waiting and seeing if he will be.

Then the Rangers can move on to other issues, like deciding who will be in their starting rotation.

As of Thursday, Washington said he plans to work 12 pitchers as starters this spring, and that only two of them -- C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis -- are guaranteed spots in the opening day rotation.

They don't know which pitchers will be there on April 1 against the Red Sox. They don't know for sure that Michael Young will be there.

More and more, though, it appears he will be.

And that's not a bad thing.
Category: MLB
Posted on: December 7, 2010 7:10 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2010 7:24 pm
 

Ryan expresses optimism on Lee

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Much of the buzz around the lobby at the Winter Meetings still has Cliff Lee likely headed to the Yankees.

Rangers president Nolan Ryan doesn't agree.

Ryan said Tuesday that he's increasingly optimistic that Lee will re-sign with the Rangers.

"I'd like to think that the longer the process goes, and the less news you hear about it, the more encouraged I am," Ryan said. "There's not any earthshaking news that has come out that concerns me. We don't have anything definitive by any means, but I think they have targeted one or two places, and I think they have a feel of where it's going."

The Nationals met with Lee's agent on Tuesday, and SI.com's Jon Heyman reported Tuesday night that Lee has two seven-year offers (with the suggestion that neither was from the Yankees or Rangers). But Ryan said he doubts Lee would go to a non-contending team, which probably leaves the Yankees and Rangers as the two possible destinations.

"He wants to be on a winner," Ryan said. "He wants to play with someone who is going to be competitive year-in, year-out. Obviously, that eliminates some organizations."

Despite his optimism, Ryan admitted that the Rangers have worked on backup plans, and he suggested that they would still prioritize starting pitching, probably in a trade (with Zack Greinke almost certainly the Plan B, and Matt Garza possibly the Plan C). Ryan basically ruled out any chance the Rangers would try to sign Carl Crawford, and came close to ruling out a run at Adrian Beltre, as well.

Ryan did admit that the Rangers have listened to trade offers for third baseman Michael Young, but it seems unlikely that Texas will move Young.

"People have asked," Ryan said.

Other people in the Rangers organization have expressed confidence this week that all things being equal, Lee prefers the Rangers over any other team.



Posted on: October 27, 2010 11:35 pm
 

No offense? Giants take down Lee in Game 1

SAN FRANCISCO -- Believe it or not, there were three other times this season that Cliff Lee gave up seven or more runs.

Believe it or not, the three teams he did it against were the Padres, Orioles and Royals.

Hard to believe?

No more so than Wednesday's Game 1 of the World Series, when the Rangers handed Lee an early two-run lead and then watched him give up seven runs to the offensively-challenged Giants, handing San Francisco an 11-7 win.

So the most successful postseason pitcher we've ever seen just got destroyed by one of the weakest World Series lineups we've ever seen?

Yeah, that's exactly what happened in Game 1. Believe it or not.

In his first eight postseason starts, Lee never lost. Not only that, but he never gave up anything bigger than a one-run lead.

In their first 10 games this postseason, the Giants only once scored more than four runs. In fact, even going back to the regular season, the Giants topped four runs just once in their last 17 games.

And they pounded Cliff Lee.

They knocked him out in the fifth inning -- first time that's ever happened to him in a postseason game, and first time it's happened to him in any start since the end of August.

They spotted him the two early runs, tied the game in the third with the help of a Michael Young error, then took control with a six-run fifth. Lee left trailing 5-2 with two out and two runners on base. Darren O'Day gave up a three-run home run to Juan Uribe, and that was that.

Lee gave up eight hits, and five of them went for extra bases. He gave up three doubles to Freddy Sanchez.

Then again, maybe we shouldn't be surprised. When Lee faced the Padres back in May, he gave up three doubles to Adrian Gonzalez and another three to Nick Hundley.

Maybe there's something about the National League West. Maybe there's something about offensively-challenged NL West teams.

Who knows?

All we know for sure is that what happened Wednesday night wasn't what any of us expected to see.


 
 
 
 
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