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Ryan mediated Rangers-Young rift

Ryan mediated Rangers-Young rift

In a potentially unsettling dispute between the Rangers and one of their most prominent players, it's clear that club president Nolan Ryan's considerable weight as a mediator was a significant reason why it came to a satisfactory conclusion on Thursday.

Ryan was not present at the first meeting in December when general manager Jon Daniels and manager Ron Washington told Michael Young that they wanted him to switch from third base to shortstop.

But Ryan had several conciliatory conversations with Young since that time and that seemed to help smooth things over. On Thursday it was Ryan who Young chose to call and tell that he was willing to make the switch.

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"I think we have to commend Michael for making this decision and us moving on because he realizes there wasn't a lot being accomplished by letting this linger," Ryan said Thursday night. "He's a big part of our organization. We look to him for a lot of things. He understands that and appreciates that. He felt what's in the best interest of the ballclub he wanted to do. That's why he wanted to move on and get ready for Spring Training."

Ryan first spoke to Young on Friday.

"In our first conversation, I visited with him about his role on the ballclub, how important that he was to our ballclub and this was a move we were making to have the best ballclub we can have," Ryan said. "He's one of the leaders on our team. We talked about different issues. It was a productive conversation."

There is also no doubt that Ryan was involved in and completely agreed with the decision to move Young to third base so the Rangers could make room for 20-year-old rookie Elvis Andrus at shortstop. But Ryan said he also understood why Young initially was quite averse to making the switch.

"He was probably -- in my opinion -- surprised that it came at this time," Ryan said. "He was probably thinking that it was a decision that would come one or two years later than it did. He didn't anticipate this, especially coming off the year he had as an All-Star and winning the Gold Glove."

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Ryan also said it was still the right thing to do to let Daniels bring up the subject with Young rather than getting involved initially.

"When you look at a decision of this nature, it falls on the general manager," Ryan said. "He's the one in direct contact with the player. When you make a decision like this, there is no crystal ball that it's the right time. But we feel Elvis is ready so we feel it's the right time so we chose to do it now.

"If I had been there, it still would have taken him by surprise. It was a matter of Michael being comfortable with it."

It doesn't hurt being able to talk with a Hall of Famer.

T.R. Sullivan 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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