Inside the Phillies: New Phillie Michael Young again one hit short of cycle

Michael Young celebrates his third-inning home run. The win over the Mets marked the 29th time in his career he was a hit short of the cycle.
Michael Young celebrates his third-inning home run. The win over the Mets marked the 29th time in his career he was a hit short of the cycle. (YONG KIM / Staff Phtographer)
Posted: April 11, 2013

At least this time Michael Young had the opportunity to hit for the cycle.

Two seasons ago, as a member of the Texas Rangers, Young had already singled, doubled, and tripled when it was his turn to hit in the eighth inning of a game against the Baltimore Orioles.

Instead, Rangers manager Ron Washington sent Mike Napoli to the plate as a pinch-hitter because he thought Young had two doubles and a single.

"I screwed that one up," Washington said that night.

Young, the consummate professional, said the at-bat was more important to Napoli because he had just returned from a 22-day stint on the disabled list and he maintained that was the case two years later.

Young would love to add a cycle to his impressive big-league resumé, but the third baseman was more than content to settle for a single, triple, and home run, especially since it came during an 8-3 rout of the New York Mets one night after Roy Halladay gave the Phillies more cause for concern.

"We played with a lot of energy tonight," Young said. "That was something we talked about. If we play with more energy and more enthusiasm, the results are going to follow."

This was the 29th time in Young's career that he was a hit short of the cycle.

"Are you . . . kidding me?" he said when informed of that statistic. "I did it in college. I'm good. They're not overrated. They are good games, but the stars have to line up to hit for the cycle."

The Phillies knew they were getting a special player when they acquired Young from the Rangers in December. Like some of their other 30-something players, they could not be absolutely sure how much special was left in the 36-year-old infielder who has been asked to make third base his full-time position.

So far the results have been good.

"I see a good player," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I see a guy who is a good hitter. If you notice, he hits the ball all over the field, and I think not only this one but the National League has good parks for him. He's a line-drive hitter who hits it to all fields."

With his three-hit game against the Mets, he raised his average to .345 through eight games, and while he's not going to win a Gold Glove in his return as a regular third baseman, he is more than competent at the position.

Regardless of the advanced age of the Phillies' infielders, all four starters this season have resumés that with some enhancements over the next four or five years could one day land them in the Hall of Fame. Young is probably the closest of them all.

He has a career .301 average and is 760 hits away from 3,000. He has a career .306 average in April and a .300 or better average in every month except August. Young also goes about his business in the right way.

After Sunday's 9-8 fall-from-ahead loss to the Kansas City Royals, he talked about how the Phillies needed to keep tacking on runs with a lead.

When the Phillies scored four in the second, three in the third and another in the fourth, Young was in the middle of it all. His one-out single triggered the four-run second. An inning later, he followed Ryan Howard's first home run of the season with his first home run as a Phillie, an opposite-field drive to right.

The quintessential Young moment unfolded in the fourth and it was reminiscent of what we've been watching around here from Chase Utley for years. After Utley walked and stole second, Young lined a shot over centerfielder Collin Cowgill's head.

Utley scored easily and Young could have gone in standing to second base just as easily.

Instead, the veteran went full steam around second and into third for a triple. He had also gone from first to third on a single in the second inning.

"A lot of times you can set the tone on the bases," Young said. "Small things like that set the tone of how you're going to play. You want to be aggressive and stay on the attack mode."

Even if you are a hit shy of the cycle.


Contact Bob Brookover at bbrookover@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @brookob.

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