Michael Young addresses teammates

Updated: February 21, 2011, 12:59 AM ET
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Michael Young briefly addressed his teammates Sunday morning during the Texas Rangers' annual full squad meeting, telling them he was focused on the season and ready to move on from the offseason.

"He said it's not going to be a distraction," manager Ron Washington said. "That was about it."

Young arrived at the Surprise Recreation Campus at 6 a.m. on Sunday to begin his preparations for the 2011 season. He had a physical before hitting balls off a tee in the batting cages. Young said hello to any teammates he didn't see when he reported Saturday afternoon and walked onto the field with Mike Napoli to start stretching and begin workouts despite wet and cold conditions.

Several of Young's teammates said they were glad to hear from the team leader.

"It shows what kind of guy he is," said Napoli, a newcomer to the club. "Some things went on this offseason that he had to deal with, but he doesn't want that bothering us. He said he's here to work and focus on the season and he wants us doing the same."

Young wanted his teammates to hear from him after all the offseason stuff was in the media the past few weeks.

"I think that was talked about more than getting ready for the season and I think that's unnecessary," said Young, who did some work at first base with infield coach Dave Anderson. "The guys know me well and I know them well and I thought it was important to say a couple of things about it and move on."

A few other players said they appreciated the fact that Young would take the time to speak to the group and that they were not concerned about it being a distraction.

"He's a leader and that hasn't changed," pitcher Derek Holland said. "He's a guy I want to be like on and off the field. He's someone I can go to. He doesn't want this to impact us and it won't. We're behind him and now we just want to go out and play."

Washington also talked to the team, stressing that they needed to do what they could to be prepared and stay healthy.

"I told them not to try to do too much the first few days and make sure that we take care of our fundamental business and take the work that we do out here as seriously as we can and get through it," Washington said.

The manager said he just wants his team worried about getting ready for the season and not anything too big picture-related.

"I brought up the fact that we're the defending American League champions," Washington said. "I brought up to the guys that haven't been here the type of atmosphere we have around here and how seriously we take our baseball."

Richard Durrrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com.

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