Michael Young accepts his Dodgers’ reserve role with grace
DENVER — If Michael Young is to be believed, his childhood idol was Don Mattingly.
“It’s not going to get him in the lineup any faster,” Mattingly said, jokingly.
Smiling, Mattingly added, “We’ll see what he says when the season’s over.”
Young, acquired in a waiver trade with the Philadelphia Phillies, joined the Dodgers on Monday at Coors Field to be a backup corner infielder.
The seven-time All-Star started the game on the bench, as Juan Uribe remained the team’s starting third baseman.
Widely considered one of baseball’s consummate professionals, the 36-year-old Young was extremely diplomatic when asked about moving into a reserve role for the first time in his career.
“My role is ‘winning player for the Dodgers,’” Young said.
He said the chance to win a World Series overrode any concerns about a reduction in playing time, especially at this stage of his career.
“The role stuff is all secondary to me,” he said. “Everything’s all about winning.”
Regardless of whether he’s in the lineup, Young figures he will get into most games, as he did Monday when he struck out in a ninth-inning pinch-hit at-bat. That probably wouldn’t be the case in the American League, he noted.
So even though the Dodgers warned him about how they expected to use him, Young said he didn’t hesitate to waive the no-trade clause in his contract to facilitate the deal.
“It was an immediate yes,” he said.
The Dodgers were the team Young watched most while growing up in Covina. He estimates he went to Dodger Stadium about 20 times a year. Young played at La Puente Bishop Amat High and UC Santa Barbara.
But, Young said, “if this team wasn’t where they were in the standings, sentimental value wouldn’t seem nearly as appealing.”
Young could get his first start with the Dodgers on Tuesday. Mattingly said he is inclined to sit Uribe, as Uribe is 0 for 15 in his career against Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin.
Volquez to start
Reclamation project Edinson Volquez will make his first start for the Dodgers on Wednesday in their series finale against the Colorado Rockies.
Signed as a free agent last week, Volquez appeared in a game as a reliever Friday. He threw a bullpen session Sunday that Mattingly described as impressive.
By inserting Volquez into the rotation, the Dodgers get to rest their other starters in addition to seeing whether pitching coach Rick Honeycutt has been able to fix the former All-Star.
With the Dodgers scheduled for a day off Thursday, Hyun-Jin Ryu’s next start will be pushed back to Friday in Cincinnati. Ryu will be pitching on six days’ rest.
Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw will start the remaining two games in Cincinnati — both on five days’ rest — meaning Chris Capuano is unlikely to pitch again until the Dodgers return home to face the Arizona Diamondbacks next week.
Volquez hasn’t pitched well at Coors Field. In his three starts here this season with the San Diego Padres, he was 0-2 with a 14.92 earned-run average.
Kemp still hitless
Matt Kemp, hitless in four at-bats with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, is now 0 for 18 in his minor league rehabilitation assignment.
Mattingly indicated that Kemp was unlikely to be activated while the Dodgers are in Colorado and that the former All-Star center fielder could remain with the Class-A Quakes in the California League playoffs.
ia League playoffs.
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