Young ties Palmeiro for most games played

Young ties Palmeiro for most games played

Young ties Palmeiro for most games played
MINNEAPOLIS -- On Sunday afternoon, fresh from his day off, Michael Young moved into a tie with Rafael Palmeiro for the most games played in franchise history.

With his start at first base against the Twins, Young -- who is signed through 2013 -- has played in 1,573 games. He will break the record on Tuesday, when the Rangers open a three-game series with the Yankees in New York.

"It means a lot to me, it really does," Young said. "It means as much as [having the Rangers' all-time] hit record, for me to be in one place my entire career, to go to the World Series with this organization. I've given them everything I have. To play the game hard and grind and pound your way through a six-month season, you have to take pride in your job."

Young made his Major League debut with the Rangers on Sept. 29, 2000, against the Athletics in Oakland after being acquired from the Blue Jays earlier in the season. He was not a September callup but was brought up during the final weekend of the season because the club was in last place and hit hard by injuries.

His first appearance came as a pinch-runner with the Rangers trailing, 7-5, with two out in the ninth inning after pinch-hitter Pedro Valdes drew a walk.

"Bobby Jones was our first-base coach," Young said. "The stadium was packed because Oakland was trying to clinch a playoff spot that weekend. The P.A. announcer said I was pinch-running and making my Major League debut. The crowd booed.

"Bobby Jones said, 'What did you do to these people?' Then there was a pop foul, and that was it. It was pretty quick."

Young played three innings the next day as a defensive replacement for Royce Clayton. The Rangers lost, 23-2, and Young went 0-for-2. He returned to the Major Leagues on May 25, 2001, when second baseman Randy Velarde went down with an injury. He has been in the lineup ever since.

Young has never been on the disabled list, and in eight of the nine seasons from 2002 to 2010, he played in at least 156 games. He played in 135 games in 2009 while missing much of September with a strained hamstring.

A couple of games stand out for Young.

"[One is] when we clinched last year in Oakland," he said. "That was by far the most memorable game for me. I remember going out in the ninth inning with a chance to lock it down. Then we did, we celebrated and had fun. It was my first chance to pop champagne in the clubhouse. A great day."

The other was on June 11, 2001. Young is from Los Angeles, and on that day the Rangers played an Interleague game at Dodger Stadium. With his family there, Young hit his first Major League home run.

"That was pretty sweet," he said. "Looking back, it was nice being able to do it at that ballpark, in a place I grew up watching baseball."