Young responds to leadoff spot, or does he?

Young responds to leadoff spot, or does he?
June 14, 2013, 11:15 pm
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Chris Young entered Friday night batting .082 (4-49) with one RBI over his previous 14 games. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- To say the heretofore struggling Chris Young responded to being put in the leadoff spot for the first time as a member of the A's would be a bit misleading. And yet, it would be true. In a sense.

"I think that invigorated him," said A's manager Bob Melvin.

All Young did as a leadoff hitter in Oakland's 3-2 loss to Seattle Friday night was go 3-for-3 with a single, a double, an intentional walk and a monstrous second-deck home run to left that harkened the halcyon days of Jose Canseco.

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This after entering the night batting .082 (4-49) with one RBI over his previous 14 games.

So surely, there had to be some cause and effect to his position in the lineup with Coco Crisp nursing a sore right heel, yes?

"There's more of an effect on you in the first at-bat of the game," Young said. "Definitely, when you're starting the game off, you have a little more energy. When you're lower in the lineup, you kind of work up to it. But when you're leading off, you don't really have a choice."

Young who was acquired last Oct. 20 in the Cliff Pennington trade with Arizona, played for Melvin with the Diamondbacks from 2006 through 2009. So Melvin was far from surprised with Young's night.

"I've seen him do that in the 1-spot," Melvin said.

"He's comfortable in the leadoff spot. He's not going to hit there with Coco, but he just had a real good game. He has a track record. This is a guy that's done it many times."

In his official rookie season of 2007, Young became the first rookie in major league history to hit 30 home runs (32) and steal 25 bases (27) in a season. He also led the bigs with nine lead-off home runs, the fifth-most in a single MLB season.

He has not come close to those numbers in his first year in Oakland. In fact, his big game as a lead-off man raised his batting average 15 points, from .169 to .184.

While Young's single led off the game for the A's, his double came with two outs as the third batter in the third inning and his solo homer, on a 1-and-2 94-mph fastball from Danny Farquhar led off the eighth.

"There have been times," Young said, "where I've been in the 6-hole and led off (an inning) three times in a game."

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