SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Now pitching for the Rangers ... No. 10 ... Michael Young. Don't laugh. That's what happens when infielders have to wait around for the pitchers to show up for the bunt defense drills. Young wasn't going to sit around and do nothing on a cool Sunday morning on the Rangers' back fields. So he took the mound and beckoned catcher Emerson Frostad to get in his crouch. Veteran catcher Toby Hall stood in the batter's box and Young let it fly. No radar gun around but a serious popping in Frostad's glove as Young brought the heat.
"Wow!" Hall said. "That will work." Young worked from the stretch and was rearing back pretty good. Remember, his strong throwing arm might be his best asset as an infielder. "Last time I threw was in high school ... senior year," Young said. "Three innings. The opposition absolutely killed me the first two innings. The third inning I put up a zero. That ended my pitching career." Problem was, he didn't have a knuckleball back then. He does now. After throwing a dozen fastballs, Young broke out the knuckleball. Seriously, Young can throw a knuckleball with little rotation and definite movement. "I throw it every day during the season," Young said. "I'm going to play until I'm 60 ... just kidding. But I throw about 20 per day right before stretching. Occasionally, I'll get some whiffs when somebody tries to catch it."
This one wasn't bad."It was really good," Frostad said. "I wasn't expecting that. He flipped the first few. After that he threw some pretty good ones that were tough to catch." And the fastball? "He started to get a little movement on it, a two-seamer down in the zone," Frostad reported. Young tried a curve or two but they were pretty soft. "Eephus pitch," Young said. "I've got to work on my secondary stuff. I'm strictly fastball and breaking ball. But I was pleased with the command of my knuckleball." He's not Tim Wakefield but ... "If the Rangers ever get in a tough spot, he could go out there and do it," Frostad said. Or not.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.