SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Michael Young will play his first-ever major-league game at first base today against the Royals.
"I've never played a game at first," Young replied.
Not in Little League, not in high school, not at UC-Santa Barbara or in the minors or in any of his 11 seasons in the big leagues.
That changes today, Feb. 28, 2011, at Surprise Stadium. So what's the first thing a newbie first baseman has to do? Well, that's obvious, get a first baseman's glove.
"I'm going to work one in right now," Young said Monday morning as he dressed for workouts. "I've being using C.D.'s [Chris Davis] for a while."
Young, who will use C.D.'s glove in today's game, is still working out his own first baseman's glove. He might need a locker just for his gloves this season. He'll have at least three for the different positions he'll play as a super-utility man. His middle infield glove is smaller than his third baseman's glove, which is obviously smaller than the unique,ovesized first baseman's glove, which is halway to catcher's mitt.
"It's definitely different," Young said. "It's big."
Meanwhile, Davis will start today's game at third base where he's getting plentyof action this spring. Davis said he doesn't really care if he's at the hot corner or first base.
"Whatever keeps me in the lineup, to be honest," Davis said.
First base is considered the easier position to field and plenty of players have made the transition from third, catcher and the outfield. Plus, Young isn't moving there full-time, just on a sporadic basis assuming Mitch Moreland wins the position outright. Mike Napoli can also play first.
There are plenty of nuances to playing first base that require practice time to get rhythm, timing and instinct down, such as pick-off throws, general positioning, the stretch and the scoop. For at least his first few games at first, Young will get dugout direction from Rangers coach Dave Anderson and manager Ron Washington.
"I just want him to get over there and get comfortable and get relaxed," Washington said. "I know if a ground ball goes to him he's going to catch it. If a ground ball goes in the infield, he's going to put himself in position to make the play. There's nothing special that I'm looking for. I just want him to get through the day. If he gets through the day healthy I'll be happy."