ARLINGTON, Texas -- As the Rangers’ so-called super utility man, versatility is a requirement for Michael Young.
That isn’t limited to moving around the infield when Young isn’t the designated hitter. Ron Washington also relies on Young’s ability to bounce around the batting order without having his rhythm disrupted.
“If a vacancy is in that lineup and I need to fill it,” Washington said, “I usually fill it with Michael.”
That was the case Thursday, when Washington wanted to give Elvis Andrus a day off and needed a No. 2 hitter. He bumped Young up a few spots in the order, which worked out fairly well.
Young went 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs in the Rangers’ 5-3 win over the Mariners.
“All Michael does is hit,” Washington said. “He’ll go up there, and it doesn’t matter the position that he’s in in the batting order, he’s going to give you a good at-bat. Today, I just happened to have him in the perfect spot. He came through huge for us today.”
Young, who has hit in every spot in the order at some point in his career, has spent the most time hitting second. However, he had only 12 plate appearances at the No. 2 spot last season, when he responded to hitting in the meat of the lineup in a regular basis with career highs in batting average (.338) and RBIs (106).
Young doesn’t worry about where he is in the lineup, as long as he’s in it. He adjusts to situations, not slots in the order.
“As far as the lineup goes, it doesn’t really matter to me,” Young said. “Wash will run out the batting order he sees fit. If I’m hitting second, fifth, it doesn’t really matter to me. If guys are on base, I try to scoop them in. If I’m leading off an inning, I try to get on base. Just try to keep it as simple as possible.”
With Young, as Wash said, it’s real simple: All he does it hit, no matter where the manager pencils in his name.