DENVER -- Second baseman Eric Young Jr.'s goal is to spark the Rockies' lineup in 2011. For now, though, he is trying to inspire others as well as himself.
Young, a left-handed hitter with blazing speed, hit .244 in 51 games as a rookie last season, most coming after he recovered from a stress fracture in his lower right leg and became the team's second baseman. He heads into this season hoping to establish himself atop the Rockies' batting order.
While preparing, Young, 25, is offering the world an interesting look into his motivation through his Twitter page. When Young finds a famous or oft-repeated quote that will help him with his preparation, whether it's motivation to put something extra into a workout or a different way of looking at life, he shares it with his followers -- a list that's nearing 6,800.
"I've always read, because I want to know how successful people look at life," Young said. "I want to get an idea of what's on our minds. They inspire me.
"Then I figured, why not share it. There may be people out there who are looking for inspiration, also. If a quote helps me at a certain time of the day, it might help somebody else."
For example, here was the most recent quote on Young's page:
"The highest compliment that you can pay me is to say that I work hard every day, that I never dog it."
-- Wayne Gretzky
Young draws expected inspiration from a speedster he'd love to emulate someday.
"Show me a guy who's afraid to look bad, and I'll show you a guy you can beat every time."
-- Lou Brock
But one doesn't have to have been an athlete to help push Young through preparation.
One who wielded a pen lifted Young.
"Nothing happens unless first we dream."
-- Carl Sandburg
It could be a businessman.
"Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions."
-- Harold S. Geneen, former president of ITT Corporation
A pioneering first lady also has inspired Young.
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
-- Eleanor Roosevelt
Young doesn't mind gaining motivation from someone who, well, is trying to motivate.
"Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do."
-- H. Jackson Brown, Jr., best known as author of "Life's Little Instruction Book"
The voices of accomplished people past and present are steeling Young for an intriguing competition at second base.
Young was the starter when the Rockies made a September run at a playoff spot. Switch-hitting Jonathan Herrera, who can play third base and shortstop, hit .284 with a .352 on-base percentage in 76 games after receiving his first chance at extended playing time in the Majors. Chris Nelson, the Rockies' top pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, split time between second and third after making his debut last season and hopes to compete for a job.
The Rockies also added two big right-handed bats with a history of playing at second -- Jose Lopez, in a trade with the Mariners, and Ty Wigginton, on a two-year, $8 million contract via free agency.
Young's approach is to believe in himself and not worry about being potentially nosed out of at-bats. He learned this last season.
Clint Barmes was the starter for much of the 2010 season. It appeared Young would have a chance in May, but he suffered a fractured right tibia. But after he returned to the active roster on Aug. 14, he started 35 of the team's final 47 games, all but four of those at second base.
At the time, the Rockies needed help at the top of the lineup. Young and Dexter Fowler contributed to Colorado's early September success, which put the club in playoff contention before it faltered in the season's final weeks.
Young, who must improve on his .312 on-base percentage last season to put his basestealing potential into play, and Fowler, who struggled with inconsistency early but showed signs of maturity late, give the Rockies a potential speed element at the top of the order.
"Last year showed that we need all kinds of players, all different talents," Young said. "You never know what the team is going to need, so you have to stay confident."
There may be healthy, maybe even friendly, competition for a key job and spot in the Rockies' order. But don't call it a battle.
One of the inspirational figures on Young's Twitter page suggests a spirit too peaceful to approach baseball that way.
"A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes."
-- Mahatma Gandhi
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.