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Young earns first start for Pirates

Young earns first start for Pirates
ST. LOUIS -- Manager John Russell walked up to Delwyn Young in the Pirates' clubhouse Wednesday afternoon and smiled at the game's starting right fielder.

"The pen slipped today," Russell joked.

Young hopes it slips more often.

For the first time since being acquired from the Dodgers in mid-April, Young's name was written in the Pirates' starting lineup. The 26-year-old Young was batting fifth against the first-place St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. He singled to left in his first at-bat off Cardinals starter Mitchell Boggs.

"I'm excited," Young said before the game. "It put me right in the middle of everything. I like that. You get chances to get guys moving. Hopefully, it works out for the good."

Young, batting .444 (4 for 9) with three doubles -- mostly as a pinch hitter -- was finally getting a chance to try to help an inconsistent, short-handed Pirates offense that was shut out three times in the past eight days. No Pirate team in the past six years had been shut out three times in a four-game span.

Young's only other appearance in the field came as a defensive replacement in left field April 19 against the Braves.

"Being a bench player, you've just got to be prepared to do whatever right away," said Young, starting for the first time since July 19, 2008, and for only the 20th time in his big-league career. "Be prepared for something down the road or a week from now. You never know."

The switch-hitting Young is the fourth player to start in right field this year for the Pirates , along with Brandon Moss, Eric Hinske and Craig Monroe. The Pirates' right fielders this year are batting a combined .245 with two home runs and 12 RBI.

Young, who hit a Pacific Coast League-record 54 doubles in 2007, is one of the game's top pinch hitters. He was fourth in the majors with 14 pinch hits last year and started 4 for 8 this year with the Pirates .

His two-run double against the Brewers on Tuesday night ended a streak of 33 at-bats this year by a Pirates' pinch hitter without an RBI.

"He's been swinging the bat very well as a pinch hitter," Russell said. "This gives him an opportunity to get more than just one at-bat."

Russell said Young's start isn't aimed at shaking up the lineup in hopes of sparking some offense. The second-year manager had wanted Young to get a start, and the current road trip provided the ideal spot, in right field.

The Pirates' regular right fielder, Moss, has more RBI in his past four games (two) than the rest of the season combined (one).

"Brandon is doing much better," Russell said. "It wasn't a thing of sitting Brandon for Delwyn. ... Delwyn is a little bit more comfortable in the outfield, (so) we put him in right today. But it has nothing to do with Brandon."

Other reserves such as Hinske, Monroe, Brian Bixler and Robinzon Diaz can expect more starts soon.

"We're trying to get everybody involved," Russell said. "This road trip would be a good trip to start getting some of our bench guys in a bit."

Young continues to work with infield instructor Perry Hill at his old position, second base. Young said he is feeling more at ease as a middle infielder.

"As long as you get to play," he said, "you will be able to get over being uncomfortable."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: May 8, 2009

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