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09/20/08 8:25 PM ET
Young sits to rest injured finger
Texas shortstop leaves previous two games early
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- The numbers aren't what he's accustomed to, but Michael Young refuses to let that be the judge of his season. "I never judge a season on numbers," Young said. "I judge it on my effort level and my preparation. From those two criteria, I'm more than happy with my season. If I keep those going the way I've done, I'll never worry about statistics." Others look at them, and Young's numbers are down this season. It has become painfully obvious that the small fracture in the ring finger on his right hand has been bothering him more than he's let on, and Young finally took a day off on Saturday. Young had to come out in the middle of the two previous games after aggravating the finger, and he finally decided that was enough. "Hopefully I'll be available late in the game and be ready to go [on Sunday]," Young said. "Even though this is September and we have reinforcements, I feel bad coming out of the game two games in a row. We'll give it a day, let the swelling and inflammation calm down and get back out there." This is the first time Young has been out of the lineup since July 30, two days after suffering the fracture while diving back into first base in a game against the Mariners. He also suffered a fracture in the tip of the ring finger on his left hand at the end of May. Since July 28, Young is hitting .236 in 191 at-bats, with a seven doubles, four home runs and 19 RBIs. His on-base percentage in that stretch is .307, and his slugging percentage is .421. Prior to the injury, he was hitting .298 in 430 at-bats, with 69 runs scored, 25 doubles, eight homers, 58 RBIs, a .345 on-base percentage and a .421 slugging percentage. A streak of five straight seasons with at least 200 hits and a .300 batting average is going to come to an end. "With everything he's had to deal with, he shown the professional that he is," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "He's fought through it and never made excuses. That's Michael Young. But his hand is bothering him, and you need it to hit. It's got to be strong. Being a player, I know how that is, when your hand is not as strong as you want it to be." Young is able to get the finger ready for a game. The problem is when he connects with a pitch off the wrong part of the bat. On Friday, he hit the ball off the end of the bat, and that proved painful. He went behind the dugout and tried to play catch, but the finger was too stiff and painful to stay in the game. "It's been tough," Young said. "It has been a battle. I think your body compensates for an injury and it messes with your mechanics. But I think I'll be a better player for this, having learned how to deal with an injury and how to have success with it." Young had an MRI on the finger earlier this week, and the judgment was he would not need surgery. Once the season is over, he'll be able to rest the finger, resume his normal offseason workouts and be ready for Spring Training.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.