A night of success for Chris Young in pinstripes
By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 11-Chris Young never lived up to expectations on the other side of town with the New York Mets- perhaps one of the major failures of a free agent in Flushing with a one-year $7.5 million contract. He became public enemy number one with the fans at Citi Field until his release on August 15th.
A week or so later the Yankees signed him to a minor league contract and when rosters expanded September 1 he was in the Bronx and on the bench. It did not take him long to make an impact for the Yankees who are fighting to stay alive for a post season spot as the second wild card in the American League.
Young never avoided the media on the other side of town when he had an 0-for-4 night, or taking the collar four times. Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium after going 3-for-4 with two runs batted in, and a game tying home run, meeting the media was easier.
After the Yankees come from behind 8-5 win over the Tampa Bay Rays that kept their playoff hopes alive, and the first time this season they overcame a four run deficit for a win, Young spoke freely and did not have any negative thoughts about his former team.
And in case you did not notice, all of a sudden the Mets have quietly got back into the NL wild card hunt after sweeping three games from the Rockies and winning seven of their last eight games.
“The opportunity to get back in the game was huge for us,” Young said. His first home run as a Yankee in the fourth inning tied the game and made him the second player to hit a home run during the season as a player for the Yankees and Mets joining Dave Kingman in 1977.
Young was not aware that he made some New York baseball history. He is content and all of a sudden became an important contributor in the Yankees outfield that has been decimated with injuries.
Once a crowded outfield when the rosters expanded, Young got the call to start in left because Carlos Beltran was scratched from the lineup with a recurring right elbow issue that may shut him down in the remaining games of the season.
Brett Gardner has been out of the lineup the past week with a bad right calf and Martin Prado, who can play the outfield is day-to-day with a bad hamstring.
“It’s a fresh start for me,” Young said. “Whatever happened in the past is not on my mind. You do your own and help this team as soon as possible.”
He has adapted to being on the other side of town and could see more playing time, though fans of the Mets will never understand what went wrong ont he other side of town. Maybe it is the awareness of putting on Yankees pinstripes, because what Young did Wednesday night was something that never came to fruition wearing the other New York baseball uniform.
With the Mets, Young batted .205, hit eight-home runs with 28 runs batted in during a span of 88-games.
“You’re in your own bubble here ,” he said. And about his former team, Young admits he is not paying attention though he keeps in touch with some of the guys he used to go to war with.
“Great group of guys (Mets) over there. It doesn’t suprise me at all. When you have a good major league team anything can happen. I dont take anything away from those guys over there.
Yes, Chris Young was praising his former team and from the comments there is a sense of loyalty and belief that the Mets are capable of pulling off a marvelous run to that wild card. Though that is highly improbable based on what the Mets accomplish the next four games at Citi Field against the first place Washington Nationals.
Said Young, “Think if I was in the same situation with another team to play with the Yankees and be in postiion is a great feeling. To be surrounded by all these other great players is the main focus.”
“Fun to see Chris contribute here and make a difference,” said Mark Teixeira who drove in the Yankees go ahead run in the fifth inning with his 19th career triple.
Young was not going to hide from the question, his new surroundings in the Bronx. “Just worrying about where I am now,” he said, and he was aware of the role of being on a crowded bench,
“Opportunity has come because guys are down. When you get your opportunity you try and do your part and try and make a difference.”
And on this night, Chris Young made a difference for the New York Yankees and for one more game gave their slim playoff chances some hope.
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