Young not using injury as excuse
Rangers shortstop struggling since breaking left ring finger
ARLINGTON -- Michael Young's 20 days are up, and the finger is almost healed.Young refuses to use it as an excuse, but the numbers certainly are hard to ignore. Young suffered a hairline fracture at the tip of the ring finger on his left hand while lifting weights on June 5. He was told it would take 20 days to heal, and it was just a matter of how much pain he could tolerate.
Not surprisingly, his pain tolerance has been high, but his offensive production is not what the Rangers are accustomed to getting from him. Young, going into Friday's game, has played in 16 of 18 games since the incident, but is hitting just .152 with 10 hits in his past 66 at-bats.Young insists his struggles at the plate have nothing to do with the finger. "None at all," Young said before Friday's game with the Phillies. "I've learned how to deal with it pretty good. I feel that the last three or four games, I'm having a lot better at-bats and I'm hitting the ball hard. I just need to have luck come back on my side, but I can't control where people play me or how big center field is in Houston." Young was going great at the time of the injury, enjoying what ended up being a 23-game hitting streak that was the fourth longest in Rangers history and the longest in the American League this season. But the hitting streak died soon after the injury, and Young has not been able to recapture the same feel. His average has since dropped from .308 to .274. "It's easy to put two and two together and say it's the finger, but me personally, I just haven't been as productive as I would like," Young said. "I can always draw from experience and I know how productive I can be when I'm feeling right. I'm going to keep working until I get there. The last three or four games, I've felt myself getting a lot closer. Once I get there, I'll be ready to go on a hot streak." Manager Ron Washington said he's not sure how much the finger is bothering Young. He just knows that Young has not asked out of the lineup. "Michael doesn't complain," Washington said. "I know everybody around here is used to seeing Super Michael, but he's only human. But Michael doesn't complain and he doesn't make excuses. That's why he's a pro." Young is hoping the finger will soon be a thing of the past, if it does really take about 20 days to completely heal. "It's better," Young said. "I still feel it -- it's not completely gone -- but it's getting better every day."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.