DENVER – Somebody asked Michael Young, who grew up 20 miles from Dodger Stadium, who his favorite player was as a kid. Quickly, Young answered “Don Mattingly.”
It still didn’t get Young in the lineup Monday.
“We’ll see what he says once the season’s over,” Mattingly joked. “Sometimes, guys like you until they get to play for you, then they might not like you so much.”
Young flew from Philadelphia, where he hastily packed up his apartment, and met the team in Colorado before Monday’s game. There is a good chance he will make his first start Tuesday, because third baseman Juan Uribe is 0-for-15 in his career against Colorado’s starter, Jhoulys Chacin.
Young, 36, said he told Philadelphia general manager Ruben Amaro months ago that he would OK a trade to the Dodgers, not because it was the team he grew up rooting for, but because he wanted another chance at a World Series ring. He lost twice in the World Series when he was with Texas. Young has a full no-trade clause.
“I think it’s pretty self-explanatory,” Young said. “This is a hell of a team.”
Getting used to a part-time role could be something of an adjustment for Young, who has been one of the game’s most consistent everyday players in this generation. From 2002 to 2011, he played in at least 155 games every season but one.
“My role is winning player for the Dodgers,” Young said. “That’s my role. You could probably ask every guy in this locker room and they’d all probably want to get five at-bats a game. We wall want to play at a very high level, but the second the lineup goes up, it’s winning time.”
He’ll spell Uribe at third and, occasionally, Adrian Gonzalez at first, but the Dodgers don’t envision using him at either of the up-the-middle infield positions at this stage of his career. Young doesn’t tend to score well in advanced statistical measures of his defense, but Mattingly said he’ll keep an open mind.
“The times I’ve gotten to see him, I didn’t notice anything,” Mattingly said. “It’s like, early on, they told me Andre [Ethier] didn’t play good defense and I think he’s been good.”
Here are lineups for Monday’s game in Colorado:
1. Carl Crawford LF
2. Yasiel Puig RF
3. Adrian Gonzalez 1B
4. Hanley Ramirez SS
5. Andre Ethier CF
6. Mark Ellis 2B
7. A.J. Ellis C
8. Juan Uribe 3B
9. Clayton Kershaw LHP
1. Josh Rutledge SS
2. DJ LeMahieu 2B
3. Michael Cuddyer RF
4. Wilin Rosario C
5. Nolan Arenado 3B
6. Charlie Culberson LF
7. Jordan Pacheco 1B
8. Charlie Blackmon CF
9. Chad Bettis RHP