SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Michael Young’s arrival at Surprise Recreation Campus was certainly different than a year ago.
Prior to the 2011 camp, Young drove to Arizona and there were updates on his progress on Twitter. He was coming after a disagreement with management in the offseason that held to a request for a trade. He held a news conference, vowed to get to work and concentrate on his teammates and then had one of the best seasons of his career.
This time, he nearly snuck into the clubhouse unnoticed. OK, not quite. Moments after he arrived, catcher Mike Napoli shouted: “Ranger Man.” Young laughed, and then talked about his focus on getting back to the World Series and winning it.
“In my mind, the last two years have been very successful,” Young said. “We didn’t get the ultimate prize, but we did some great work. Our work’s not finished yet. We’ll keep at it. I’ve heard the term ‘World Series hangover’ a lot. I’m not concerned about that at all. It’s an ultra-competitive group. The only thing we’ve been thinking about is putting on our uniforms and beating people.”
Young agreed with CEO Nolan Ryan, who said this year’s club is better than the edition that showed up for spring training in 2011.
“Last year, we were better than the year before,” Young said. “We want to go out and play better this year.”
Young hasn’t experienced Yu Darvish mania firsthand yet, but he’s been following the Japanese pitcher’s progress.
“We’re excited about him being here,” Young said. “We know how good he’s capable of being. Anything that comes with that, we’re all for it. It’s another great pitcher to add to the group we already have.
“We know the success he’s had in Japan, so we’ll welcome him with open arms. We know he’ll have success here. He’s a rookie and we’ll try to ease the transition for him, but he’s been through so much in Japan already, we think that’s a nonissue for him.”
Young said he isn’t big on setting goals, preferring to focus on staying healthy and being prepared for the season in spring training.
“I feel like goals are limits,” Young said. “I want to keep myself in good shape when the season starts, cutting myself loose and playing has hard as I can and expect success.”