Texas acquiring Mike Napoli from the Blue Jays earlier this week restarted all the “will the Rangers trade Michael Young?” speculation that had died down since peaking last month, but while speaking at a minor-league event yesterday team president Nolan Ryan made it pretty clear that Young won’t be traded.
Ryan explained that Young “is going to be our designated hitter on Opening Day” and also noted that he expects about 80 percent of Young’s starts to come at DH, which is surprising given that the Rangers would presumably be better defensively with Napoli at DH and Young at first base on days when they’re in the lineup and Mitch Moreland isn’t.
Ryan stressed how valuable Young’s versatility will be for the Rangers, saying: “There’s no other team that has someone of that magnitude that can play that kind of role.” However, if 80 percent of his playing time is going to come at DH and they’re not going to use him at first base instead of the defensively challenged Napoli, the versatility would seemingly be mostly wasted.
Whatever the case it once again looks likely that Young (and the $48 million remaining on his contract) will begin the season in Texas and if he’s not traded before mid-May his 10-and-5 rights will give him the ability to veto any deals.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.