Michael Young

How much longer will the Rangers hit Michael Young fifth?

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There are 178 players with at least 150 plate appearances against right-handed pitching this season. Michael Young ranks 172nd in the group in OPS:

169. Rickie Weeks (Mil): .580
170. Sean Rodriguez (TB): .576
171. Danny Espinosa (Was): .575
172. Michael Young (Tex): .566
173. Jamey Carroll (Min): .565
174. Orlando Hudson (SD/ChW): .562
175. Brendan Ryan (Sea): .530
176. Alexei Ramirez (ChW): .520
177. Clint Barmes (Pit): .493
178. Kurt Suzuki (Oak): .492

It’s safe to say no one else in that group would be hitting fifth for the Rangers ahead of Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli. Ron Washington keeps batting Young there, though.

Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News supplies some reasons for the Rangers to stick with Young as a No. 5 hitter.

Personally, I’m not buying it. Young is coming off an excellent 2011 season, but he’s 35 and barring a remarkable turnaround, 2012 will be the fourth time in six seasons that he’s finished with a sub-.800 OPS. That doesn’t mean he’s useless. He’s still hitting lefties very well this season (.361/.393/.458), and he seems like a fine choice to bat fifth against them. Versus righties, though, the Rangers are hurting themselves by continuing to bat him in the heart of the lineup. It’s past time for Washington to turn to Napoli.

Twins’ minor league pitcher Landa dies in Venezuela

FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 05:  Yorman Landa #81 of the Minnesota Twins makes a throw to first base during the fourth inning of a spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles at Hammond Stadium on March 5, 2016 in Fort Myers, Florida.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins say minor league pitcher Yorman Landa has died in Venezuela. He was 22.

The club said in a statement that the Twins are “deeply saddened by the heartbreaking loss.” The team did not say how he died.

Landa pitched in the 2016 season with the Fort Meyers Miracle, going 2-2 with 7 saves and a 3.24 ERA in 41 2/3 innings pitched. His career minor-league ERA was 2.66.

Landa had been on the Twins’ 40-man roster, but was dropped after the season. The organization signed him to a minor-league contract last week.

Landa was signed by the Twins in 2010 as a 16-year old from Santa Teresa, Venezuela.

Orioles are eying Welington Castillo as their primary catcher target

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 25: Welington Castillo #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up prior to taking an at bat against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 25, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.

Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.

For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.