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Young not settling for All-Star turnaround

Young not settling for All-Star turnaround

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ANAHEIM -- During the 2009 All-Star break, Chris Young was simply in survival mode.

A .196 batting average in the first half had left him trying to figure out how to regain his swing.

"At this point last year, I was sitting in my room stressing, trying to figure out how I was going to turn things around for the second half. It just shows you that if you stay with your plan and you believe in yourself and understand the blessing that you have in front of you and take it as a life lesson, you'll learn from it and continue to push."

What a difference a year makes.

At the break this year, Young is hitting .266 with 15 homers and 61 RBIs to go along with 17 steals in 19 attempts.

And not only was Young selected as a reserve on the National League team, but he also was asked to participate in Monday's State Farm Home Run Derby. So there was a pair of news conferences for him to attend before heading over to Angel Stadium to take batting practice with his fellow All-Stars.

"It's amazing," Young said. "Just a year later I'm doing interviews for the Home Run Derby in the All-Star Game."

Young has gone out of his way to make sure that his family shares in it with him. He brought in his mom, dad, step dad, brother, sister and two nephews as well as some cousins and friends.

"Like a week ago they were in bed not even knowing they had a full vacation planned," Young said. "For me, it's more like a family reunion because I don't really have the opportunity to hang out with everybody at the same time. I'm excited for the experience of my family."

The family had dinner together on Sunday night when Young arrived in town and breakfast on Monday morning.

It's a working vacation for his nephews. One has been given a video camera, the other a digital camera with specific instructions.

"I said don't miss anything," Young said. "I'm not good at taking pictures, but I always want to have them. I've got them on the job, so hopefully they do a good job."

Given the way the D-backs' first half has gone, interim manager Kirk Gibson hopes that Young's turnaround from his struggles last season can spark a similar resurgence for the team in the second half.

"He's been very consistent," Gibson said. "His numbers are outstanding and given what happened to him last year, for him to be determined to turn this around it shows great character and that's a great message for our team. This is what we're looking for."

And what Young is hoping for is a second half equal or better to his first.

"By no means is me making the All-Star team the goal or the end of the season," he said. "I still have to continue to work hard and make the adjustments that I need to make for the season. But for the halfway part, I couldn't ask for anything more."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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