Young healthy, ready for everyday duty

Feb. 23, 2012

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — With the acquisition of Jason Kubel from

Minnesota this offseason, the Diamondbacks’ outfield situation got a

little complicated. Gold Glove winner Gerrardo Parra suddenly appeared

out of a starting job.

Parra reported to D-backs camp at Salt

River Fields on Wednesday and said he’s happy the team added Kubel. He

offered not even an inkling of a complaint.

But what about center

fielder Chris Young, who could stand to lose a little playing time to

Parra, as manager Kirk Gibson suggested earlier this week? No complaints

there either. In fact, he hasn’t heard much about it.

“Nothing’s

been brought to my attention,” Young said Thursday. “I come into spring

training with the same mentality every year, as if you’re trying to

prove to everybody the type of player you are and what you can bring to

the team. This spring is no different.

“I am a guy that likes to

play day in and day out. I’ve always been that type of player, but

nothing’s been brought to my attention, so I honestly don’t even think

about it.”

By no means is there any suggestion that Young’s job

is up for grabs. But Young did struggle against right-handed pitching

last season, hitting just .222. Gibson is also known for getting all his

players into games.

Young said he’s ready to do whatever the team needs to win but isn’t preparing for any kind of reduced role.

“The

goal is winning by all means,” Young said. “As far as I know right now,

I’m preparing myself to play center field every day.”

Young

wasn’t quite himself at the plate while playing through injuries during

the second half of last season. He hit just .193 after the All-Star

Break and tallied 21 RBIs, less than half the 50 he put up in the first

half.

The primary issue was a strained ligament in his left

thumb first suffered in June. He admitted earlier this week it might

have contributed to his second-half struggles but hesitated to say how

much.

“There’s no way to really tell,” Young said Thursday. “Your

hands are very important, so if you have any issue with your hands is

going to cause you to adjust your swing. It did affect me a little bit,

but I wouldn’t take it back. I would still do everything the same way.”

Young said he started hitting in November with no pain, and the thumb is 100 percent healed.

“It

feels like there was nothing ever wrong with it,” Young said. “I had

plenty of time this offseason to get it right. … Closer to the playoffs I

wasn’t feeling it as much, and right after the season after a couple

weeks off it pretty much flared down, and I haven’t had any issues with

it since. I haven’t felt it once this offseason.”

— Tyler Lockman