Chris Young makes himself at home
Long-time center fielder scores twice in his debut in left field
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 8:38 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 8:38 p.m.
Chris Young felt out of place as he trotted to left field for the first time ever, at any level. It took a few plays to feel situated.
Young singled, walked and scored twice, Jed Lowrie hit a two-run homer and the A's beat a Seattle Mariners split squad 7-3 on Thursday in Phoenix.
Tommy Milone pitched three scoreless innings for the A's, who have won four of their last five.
Robert Andino hit a home run among his two hits for the Mariners, who had a 10-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday. Kendrys Morales added two hits and Vinnie Catricala also drove in a run.
Mariners starter Brandon Maurer allowed a run on four hits over three innings.
Milone gave up three hits, walked one and struck out three. Hiroyuki Nakajima had two hits, drove in a run and stole a base. Josh Reddick, Yoenis Cespedes, Derek Norris and Andy Parrino, who hit a home run, also drove in runs.
Young has never played anywhere but center field in his seven-year career with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He had never been in left field — not in high school, not in little league.
“It was different, for sure,” Young said. “I felt extremely awkward the first few innings. I was looking for the first ball to come. I was not sure how I would react to it. After I got a ball hit to me, and I felt I made the right read on it, I felt a lot more comfortable.”
Young may still get most of his work in center, but with Coco Crisp entrenched there, Young can work his way into the lineup at the corners. Reddick, Cespedes and Seth Smith are all in the outfield-DH mix.
“Since I've never been out there I wasn't sure if I was in the right place,” Young said, who also played one game in right field. “The strongest position for me is center field. It's all I've ever done. It's not whether I like it, but rather how I can make the adjustment.”
Milone, who won 13 games for the A's in his rookie season, has yet to allow a run in two starts, five innings, this spring.
“I still feel like I have to go out and prove myself,” Milone said. “I want to give them a reason to put me in the rotation.”
Milone was part of an A's rotation that featured all rookies at the end of season — when Oakland overtook the Texas Rangers and won the AL West on the final day of the season.
“They've all created names for themselves,” Young said. “You grow a lot faster when you're put in that situation over guys who come in and struggle early. They look good as any veteran. They look great to me.”
Mariners manager Eric Wedge was pleased with Maurer's outing.
“I think when you talk about these young kids, they gain so much experience from each outing,” he said. “You go through things each outing.”
A's RHP Arnold Leon joined Team Mexico for the World Baseball Classic.
Mariners RHP Jeremy Bonderman, who has not pitched in the Major Leagues since 2010, gave up a run on two hits in two innings. He struck out two.
RHP A.J. Griffin starts for the A's on Friday against Seattle.
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