2009 MLB American League West Notebook
You know Texas third baseman Michael Young well enough to know that he is regarded as one of the best hitters in baseball.
He is the perfect line drive hitter. In fact, when he joined the Rangers in 2001, little did anyone know that then-Rangers general manager Doug Melvin pulled off one of the best trades in club history. Young came over in a deal in 2000 for right-hander Esteban Loaiza.
Young, the 2005 batting champion and four-time All-Star, is a .301 lifetime hitter and is currently seventh in the American League in hitting at .335. But Young's kryptonite has been hitting with runners in scoring position. Young is hitting a woeful .105 (4-for-38) in that department. However, he has a given the Rangers some thrills this year by hitting three home runs that either tied or won a game in the ninth inning or extra innings.
Two weeks ago, we discussed how third baseman Eric Chavez' season was in flux because of a back problem. Now, it appears that his career could be in jeopardy.
Chavez was recently moved from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list because it has turned into a herniated disc. Reports out of the Bay Area have said that if Chavez were to cause more harm to the back, it could likely end his career.
Obviously, this is a very delicate time for Chavez who is currently rehabbing in Arizona and wants to rejoin the ballclub after it returns from a roadtrip.
This goes beyond baseball. If this injury forces Chavez to leave the game, at least he would be in a position where his health would still be in tact.
Slugger Vladimir Guerrero (chest) was expected to go on a rehab assignment this weekend for the Angels Class A team in Rancho Cucamonga.
If that went well, then the Angels are expected to activate him from the disabled list for their Memorial Day game against the Chicago White Sox. Guerrero's return is important for a team that is averaging less than five runs per game.
But just because he's healthy doesn't bring assurity that he would be the same Vlad that others knew. He hit over 25 home runs for 11 consecutive seasons. Yet batspeed and his overall athleticism will be watched closely to see how well he really is. Guerrero has punished his body over the years.
The reeling Mariners pretty much took themselves out of the division race this month because the offense fell apart.
Going into the weekend, the Mariners were hitting .241 for the month and had a team ERA of close to 5.00. That results in a 6-14 record. The Mariners also went from leading the division by 3 1/2 games to falling into third place and trailing by five games. That is a swing of 8 1/2 games.
The silver lining to all of this is that Ichiro Suzuki is the second hottest hitter in baseball this month. He was hitting .360 and trailed Houston's Hunter Pence who was at .363.
By Kevin Lonnquist
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