Michael Young wants to drop Ks, up BBs

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Texas Rangers designated hitter and super-utility infielder Michael Young comes into every spring with some specific improvements he'd like to make.

On the offensive end, Young believes he's capable of increasing his walk total while continuing to drop his strikeouts.

He walked in his first at-bat in the Rangers' 3-2 loss to the Angels at Surprise Stadium on Saturday. It was Young's fifth walk of the spring. That's good enough for third on the team, behind Mike Napoli (nine) and Julio Borbon (six).

"I want to reduce my punchouts and increase my walks," Young said.

That's not easy for Young because he's always ready to swing at a pitch he can hit and more times than not, he puts it in play. But he's always had good plate discipline and believes he can do a better job later in counts of taking walks if his pitch isn't there.

The decrease in strikeout total was something Young was successful in doing in 2011. He had 78 strikeouts, the lowest total of his career. That was 37 fewer than a year ago and it pleased Young. His goal is to keep his total there or lower and increase the walks.

"My walks have stayed about the same my whole career," Young said.

He walked 47 times in 2011. He's walked between 44 and 58 times per season since 2004. And, of course, Young has hit .306 or better seven times since 2003 and has had at least 200 hits six times, including last year when he had 213 hits and batted .338, a career-high.

"I don't foul a lot of balls off, so sometimes I'm not in those counts," Young said. "But I want to get my walks up."