Young out indefinitely after ear surgery

Young out indefinitely after ear surgery

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers manager Ron Washington is not letting his pitchers swing the bat in exhibition games at National League parks.

They either bunt or stand there until the opposing pitcher walks or strikes them out. Washington doesn't want any pitcher getting hurt swinging the bat.

But just standing at home plate has been dangerous for the Rangers of late.

Shortstop Michael Young will be sidelined for an indefinite period of time after undergoing surgery to close a laceration on his left ear and outfielder Nelson Cruz had to be scratched from Wednesday's lineup because of more dizzy spells.

Both are dealing with the aftereffects of getting hit in the head by a pitch in the last few days. Cruz was hit in the head by a fastball thrown by Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo on Monday and Young was hit in the left side of his helmet by a changeup thrown by White Sox pitcher Gavin Floyd on Tuesday.

Young suffered a gash in the cartilage on the left ear that required minor surgery on Tuesday night at a local hospital.

"I spent the night in the hospital and was discharged about 10:30 this morning," Young said. "I'm feeling a lot better this afternoon. I had what they called a traumatic laceration to my ear. The doctors said it was similar to if someone took scissors and cut my ear. There was some exposed tissue and cartilage and that's what they wanted to fix."

Young's sutures are scheduled to come out next Wednesday and right now he has been told to limit his time outside because of the risk of infection.

"Obviously wearing a helmet is out of the question for the time being," Young said.

Young did not report to the Rangers complex on Wednesday but hopes to return on Friday.

"He's going to be 100 percent fine," general manager Jon Daniels said. "It's a comfort thing really, a matter of comfortably putting a helmet over his ear. He can still get his work in on the back field, but he may not be able to put a batting helmet on for a week."

Jerry Hairston started at shortstop against the San Diego Padres in Peoria but Washington said Young was going to get the day off anyway. Young was supposed to play in Tucson on Thursday and against the Padres on Friday.

"Mike not there, that hurts," Washington said. "That's why I'm glad this is Spring Training and it didn't happen in the regular season. He'll still eventually be able to get some swings in from soft toss and the tee. When he's able to do stuff without feeling pain, he can take batting practice and then we'll figure out when we can get him in a game. We still have plenty of time."

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Young's absence will give the Rangers a better chance to evaluate several candidates for their utility infielder job. Hairston is competing with Desi Relaford, Matt Kata and Ramon Vazquez for the job. Drew Meyer is also still in camp.

"We've been mixing those guys in pretty good. Now they just get a chance to get some starts," Washington said.

The Rangers were hoping to get Cruz back in the lineup on Wednesday. But he felt dizzy and had a headache after a morning workout in the weight room and the Rangers decided to give him at least one more day to recover from his beaning.

Cruz, trying to nail down the starting right field job, has already missed time because of shin splints last week and has just 12 at-bats this spring. Ian Kinsler leads the Rangers with 31 at-bats, Sammy Sosa has 28 and Young has 27.

The Rangers would like to get him back out there so he can start getting critical at-bats and they can get a better read on where he is in his development.

"I want to see him out there four or five days in a row," Washington said. "That should be enough to evaluate where he is. I wouldn't term it a crucial spring for him, but he needs to continue to impress."

As for his job as the Rangers' everyday right fielder, Washington said, "He's still in the mix. We haven't put him in the blender and chopped him up or pureed him. He's still in the mix."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.