Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Buzz: Michael Young's off day not based on performance
By Ian Begley / ESPNNY.com
NEW YORK -- For the first time in more than two months, Michael Young is getting a day off.
Not that he was looking for one.
"I definitely would prefer to keep playing," Young said. "But at the same time I understand (manager Ron Washington's decision). It's August, the heat, dog days ... you have to make sure guys get rest."
Washington decided to give the 12-year veteran the day off Wednesday with the Rangers playing the third game of a four-game series against the New York Yankees.
"I felt it was time that he got one," said Washington, who noted that Young will be back in the lineup Thursday.
Young has played every day since June 10. He is hitting .269 with three homers and 45 RBIs in 112 games but has suffered through a significant power drought of late.
Young hasn't homered in 84 games, which is the longest streak of his career (his last homer was May 7). Only one player in the American League has fewer extra-base hits than Young (24 XBH in 476 plate appearances). Young's single in Tuesday's game ended an 0-for-12 streak.
"It's not Michael Young-like," Washington said of Young's recent stretch. "But he brings more than just what the numbers say and there's no one more upset about what's going on than Michael Young. But I believe in him and I feel in a minute (Young's turnaround) can happen."
Adrian Beltre will start at third base and rookie Mike Olt will start at first against Yankees righty Freddy Garcia on Wednesday.
Washington said Young's day off was for a combination of physical and mental rest.
"It's not performance," Washington stressed, "It's just being a manager and (I) decided to give him a day off. It's not performance."
The manager also said that he wanted to play Olt at first base at some point over the next two days before the Rangers head to Toronto, where they are expected to face left-handed starters. Olt is expected to get playing time against lefties.
And Washington added that he preferred Young in the lineup Thursday, when the Rangers face Yankees righty Ivan Nova.
Young insisted Wednesday that playing in every game since June 10 has had no bearing on his performance.
"I've been playing every day for my entire career, so it doesn't really do anything for me," Young said. "At the same time, I understand what Wash is doing. He's trying to keep everybody rested and ready to go."
Asked if he felt he needed a day off, Young said, "No, I never feel that way."
Washington acknowledged that Young, who has a career average of .302, may be in the middle of a down year.
"You can't play this game where a year don't come where things don't go right," Washington said. "Babe Ruth had down years, Mickey Mantle had down years, everybody has down years."
The manager also commended Young for not allowing his poor performance to affect his demeanor.
"If you didn't look at the numbers, you wouldn't know that Michael was not having a Michael Young-type year," Washington said.
For what it's worth, Young seemed optimistic about being his ability to turn things around over the final weeks of the regular season.
"I feel like for the rest of the season I'm going to do what I usually do, which is make hard contact," Young said. "The year's not over yet. The most important part of the season is still to come."
* Washington reiterated that the team will make a decision about carrying eight pitchers when it returns home Aug. 20. The manager said the team will continue to carry eight pitchers through the current seven-game trip. As far as the bullpen goes, Washington said he views Roy Oswalt as a two-inning reliever. If the Rangers need a reliever to throw three or four innings, Michael Kirkman is the lone pitcher who can do so. The lack of options for a long man may factor in the team's decision, Washington noted.
* Yu Darvish is looking to build off his quality start Sunday against Detroit.
Prior to allowing three runs in 6 2/3 innings against Detroit, Darvish had struggled. He was 1-4 with a 7.04 ERA in his last six starts with 24 walks and 48 strikeouts. But he pitched in and out of trouble against Detroit, and drew confidence from the start.
"I'm just recalling the good parts of my prior outing and (I) just take that into my next start and prepare properly," Darvish said through an interpreter Wednesday.
Darvish's next start is Friday against Toronto.
"Mentally, I'm in a good state and physically as well," Darvish said. "Everything is going in the right direction."
* Mitch Moreland spent another day at designated hitter Wednesday, in part to rest the bruise on his right big toe. Washington did not seem concerned about the injury. Moreland said that, if necessary, he could have been on the field. Washington also penciled Moreland as designated hitter because he wanted to play Olt on Wednesday and he didn't want Olt to serve that role.
"If (Olt is) more involved in the game, he doesn't really have time to think about anything. (He can) just play," Washington said of the 23-year-old Olt.
Speaking of Olt, Washington said the rookie has worked out at shortstop and in the outfield to prepare for playing those positions in an emergency situation.
* Koji Uehara (ribs) threw 20 pitches of live batting practice at Double-A Frisco on Wednesday. A Rangers spokesman said Uehara felt 'good' after the session and will throw 30 pitches Saturday at Frisco. If all goes well and he doesn’t have any setbacks, he could be activated from the DL on Aug. 26. ... Jon Daniels was honored at Hunter College High School in Manhattan on Wednesday. The GM, a Queens native, is an alumni of Hunter College HS.