Michael Young in battle for batting title

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Michael Young enters the final four games of the regular season in contention for his second American League batting title.

After two hits on Saturday, Young raised his average to .338, two points behind the leader, Boston Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (.340) and a point behind second-place Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers (.339).

“The batting race is not my focus,’’ the 34-year-old Young, ever the team player, said Saturday. “My focus is completely on winning games.’’

Young is one of three Texas Rangers in their 39-year history to have won an AL batting title with a .331 average in 2005, 10 points better than second-place Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees.

Other Rangers batting title champions are Julio Franco (.341) in 1991 and Josh Hamilton last season (.359).

Young made it a point to volunteer for duty Saturday, a day when many Rangers regulars enjoyed a day off, even though Felix Hernandez was pitching for the Seattle Mariners.

“When I put myself in the place of our players, that’s what I would do,’’ Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “I’d be one of those that would tell the skipper that you can depend on me.’’

Young’s 155 starts in Texas’ 158 games this season are broken down this way: 68 at designated hitter, 38 at first base, 13 at second base and 36 at first base.

Washington said it was an oversight for Young to not at least be mentioned in the MVP discussion.

“When you look at all the things he does for this team, all the positions he plays,’’ said Washington, “it’s B.S. if they don’t talk about Michael Young.’’