Young joins Boggs, Ichiro with five straight 200-hit seasons
ARLINGTON, Texas -- With a single up the middle, Michael Young joined some select company and capped his impressive comeback from an early season slump.
Young's RBI single in the seventh inning of the Texas Rangers' home finale was his 200th hit this season. It is the fifth consecutive 200-hit season for Young, who joined Wade Boggs and Ichiro Suzuki as the only players since 1940 to achieve that feat.
"I'm definitely humbled by it. I recognize the company I'm with, and it means a lot," Young said. "Those are the kind of things you sit back at the end of a career and be proud of. I'm still in the middle of my career. I'm not going to sit around and dig myself. Hopefully, I'm just getting started."
The four-time All-Star shortstop, who got off to a miserable start this season after signing a new contract, matched Hall of Fame second baseman Charlie Gehringer (1933-37) for the most consecutive 200-hit seasons by a middle infielder.
Boggs and Suzuki both had seven straight 200-hit seasons, including this year for Suzuki. Boggs had at least 200 hits from 1983-89.
Young reached his milestone by going 3-for-5 in the Rangers' 16-2 victory over the AL West champion Los Angeles Angels. He had a pair of RBI singles and raised his season average to .314.
After signing an $80 million contract extension through 2013, Young was hitting only .192 (23-of-120) on May 3. He had just gone 0-for-13 in the Rangers' three-game sweep at home by the New York Yankees.
Young certainly wasn't thinking about 200 hits then. But it wasn't really because he was struggling -- it's because he doesn't set number goals.
"Everyone always asks me about 200 hits. My goals heading into every season are to be healthy and to stay consistent," said Young, the 30-year-old wrapping up his seventh season. "I think I accomplished both of those things. Just the first month and a half, two months, I was consistently bad."
But Young's average started to climb steadily after that. He hit .361 in June to earn his fourth straight All-Star nod since switching from second base after the Rangers traded AL MVP Alex Rodriguez before the 2004 season. In 51 games since Aug. 1, Young is hitting .349.
"Find 'grind' in the dictionary and Michael's picture would be next to it," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "The key thing is how he can stay focused."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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