SEATTLE -- A long, tough season has come to an end for Rangers shortstop Michael Young, the toughest of his career. Young has a strained groin muscle and is not expected to play in the Rangers final two games in Seattle. The weather is cold and the Rangers don't want to risk injury, even at this point in the season. "I don't want him rehabbing that thing all winter," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
Young finished the year hitting .315 with 80 runs scored, 201 hits, 37 doubles, nine home runs and 94 RBIs. From a personal standpoint, Young called it a good year. "Those numbers aren't what I'm used to, but considering the way the season started, I knew I was going to be in a dogfight," Young said. "But I wanted to make sure at the end of the season I was a better player for it. I wanted to sprint to the finish line and I felt strong into September. Unfortunately, it didn't mean much as far as the team is concerned." From a team standpoint, Young said, it was not a good season. "There's always room for optimism, but the simple fact is this is getting old," Young said. "I don't want the topic of conversation to be who's in third place. That's not what I play baseball for. "This is by far my toughest year in baseball. I hope this gets turned around immediately." Byrd would welcome Hunter: Marlon Byrd has been the Rangers regular center fielder for the past two months, but said he would love it if the Rangers sign Torii Hunter in the offseason. "You've got to get Torii if you get the chance," Byrd said. "He's a Gold Glover, an All-Star, Silver Slugger. If you got a guy like Torii Hunter, his ability, who says he wants to be here, you got to do it." If the Rangers sign Hunter, Byrd would be out of a job as the regular center fielder, but he isn't worried about playing time next year. The Rangers will find a spot for a guy who hit .307 with 10 home runs and 70 RBIs in 414 at-bats. "I want to win," Byrd said. "I'm 30 years old, going on 31. I've been in the big leagues, I've had my struggles, I've shown I can play. I don't know what they have planned for me, whether it's playing regularly, come off the bench or be a guy who moves around from position to position. "I just want to win. That's it. Losing and getting paid is not fun. Winning and getting paid is fun. I've been enjoying watching my boys in Philly play." Sosa going to Arizona: Sammy Sosa is planning to fly to Arizona at the Rangers request to speak to their players in the Instructional League. Sosa is supposed to meet with the group of top young Rangers prospects on Tuesday in Surprise. "It's like a payback," Sosa said. "When I was in my prime, there were a lot of players who would talk to me -- Julio Franco, Ruben Sierra -- when I first came up. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don't have the right people telling you what to do, you can fall the wrong way." Bowling for prospects: The Rangers might even let Sosa bowl a few games when he goes to Instructional League. The Rangers are incorporating some team-building events into their Instructional League program and they all went bowling a couple of nights ago. That included the Latin American players who don't know how to bowl. Or at least everybody thought. "Engel Beltre [from the Dominican Republic] was the first guy up," general manager Jon Daniels said. "Very first ball of the night ... a strike. The whole place erupted." Left-handed pitcher Daniel Herrera had the high game with a 249. Murray gets nod: Vicente Padilla has a sore neck. Brandon McCarthy has a sore elbow. A.J. Murray pitched well in his first and only start, holding the Angels to one run in five innings on Tuesday. So the Rangers have decided to let Murray start their final game of the season against the Mariners on Sunday. "A.J. pitched well his last start," pitching coach Mark Connor said. "We envision him as a starter down the road. We'll see what another start brings us. He deserves it after his performance the other night." McCarthy will concentrate on a strength and conditioning program and will stop throwing for now. He will not pitch in the Instructional League. "Dr. [Keith] Meister feels like it's better to shut him down and get him healthy," Connor said. Padilla has been nursing a sore neck and the Rangers decided he doesn't need another start. Armando Galarraga could follow Murray to the mound on Sunday. He said it: "He still has tremendous upside." -- Washington on Ian Kinsler Briefly: Young, Byrd, Hank Blalock and Frank Catalanotto were not in the lineup on Saturday and are not expected to play on Sunday either. Washington is planning to go with his young players and reserves on Sunday. ... Going into Saturday's game, the Rangers had won 47 games at home and 28 on the road. The 19-game differential is the largest in club history. Up next: The Rangers close out their season against the Seattle Mariners at 3:05 p.m. CT on Sunday at Safeco Field. Murray pitches against Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.