Young shows durability by taking no days off
Rangers third baseman hasn't taken day off since '03 season
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington is giving just about all of his players days off to try to keep them fresh all season long.
Julio Borbon was off on Saturday. Josh Hamilton and Elvis Andrus were given days off earlier in the week.Third baseman Michael Young is the exception. The veteran was back in the lineup on Saturday and remains the only Texas player to have started every game this season. "That's the way I want it," Young said. "Wash gives me innings off here and there, but I haven't had a day off since 2003. If I wasn't playing, it's because I couldn't play physically. Right now I feel fine. If Wash wants to give me a day off, I'm sure we'll talk about it." Young has started 72 games at third base and one at designated hitter. The Rangers, going into Saturday's game against the Astros, had played 657 1/3 innings on defense -- and Young had been at third base for all but 21 of them. Andres Blanco started one game there and relieved Young in five other blowouts. "It's important for my teammates to be able to count on me being in the lineup," Young said. "At the same time, I recognize the importance of keeping my body healthy the whole season. If I felt I needed a day off, I wouldn't jeopardize my health or the team just for one day. But right now I feel fine." Young averaged playing 158 games per season from 2003-08 before playing in just 135 games in 2009, missing almost all of September because of a strained hamstring muscle. "Michael knows what he's doing," Washington said. "I don't see him playing 162 games, but I don't see him wearing down. He's mentally tough. Right now his body is holding up. At some point I may suggest a day off, but I don't see it right now. It may not happen until after the All-Star break."
Washington settles into catching rotation
ARLINGTON -- Right now, manager Ron Washington has settled into a rotation with his catchers. He likes the idea of Matt Treanor playing three contests in a row and then using Max Ramirez for two consecutive games."We're going to stay with it, unless something unforeseen happens," Washington said. "Right now it's working." It's working because the Rangers went into Saturday's game in first place in the American League West with a 44-29 record -- second-best in all of baseball. Their pitching staff was also fifth in the league with a 3.97 ERA. Those are the numbers that draw Washington's attention. But Rangers catchers also went into Saturday's game hitting a combined .203, the lowest average in the AL. They were also in the bottom half of the league in most defensive categories. "The numbers may not be pretty, but the results are," Washington said. "We know what we've got as far as offense. But they're both doing a great job of getting the pitchers through their innings. Until Max and Matt show us they can't get the job done, we're going to stick with them." Texas is 27-15 when Treanor starts behind the plate and 13-7 with Ramirez.
One of team's hottest hitters, Borbon rests
ARLINGTON -- For the second time this week, manager Ron Washington rested one of his hottest hitters. Julio Borbon was given the day off for Saturday's contest against the Astros.Borbon has been out of the lineup in 15 games this season, but only two have been when right-handers were on the mound. Although Houston righty Josh Banks is making his season debut, Washington wanted to give David Murphy a start. Besides, Borbon has been hitting all pitchers lately. Going into Saturday, he was hitting .341 in his past 11 games and hitting .400 for the month of June. That's the second-best average in the American League behind Josh Hamilton. Borbon is now hitting .293 for the season after being at .191 at the end of April. "He's getting better pitches and he's being more aggressive," Washington said. "He's starting to drive the ball rather than serving it, and he's confident. When he gets in that box, you can see he's confident."
Harden hoping to return to mound soon
ARLINGTON -- Rich Harden, on the disabled list with a strained gluteus muscle, is hoping to start throwing off a mound in the next day or so. Harden has been throwing on flat ground without any problems."I feel pretty good," Harden said. Harden hopes that after a couple of mound sessions in the bullpen, he'll be ready to go on a medical rehabilitation assignment in the Minor Leagues. One or two strong starts there could put him in position to return to the rotation after the All-Star break.
Frisco catcher Taylor Teagarden withdrew from the Double-A All-Star Game next week. Teagarden is taking the time off rather than catching a couple of innings in the game. ... The Triple-A Oklahoma City RedHawks are close to being sold to Mandalay Entertainment, the same group that owns the Double-A Frisco Roughriders. But it's still likely that the Rangers will transfer their Triple-A affiliation to the Round Rock Express in 2011. ... Alexi Ogando has pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings in his first four Major League games. The club record for scoreless relief innings at the start of a career is 11 2/3, set by Jeff Zimmerman in 1999.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.