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Texas without Young at least two weeks

Texas without Young at least two weeks

ARLINGTON -- Chris Davis was the Rangers' starting third baseman on Wednesday. Omar Vizquel and Esteban German will likely get much of the work at the position.

The Rangers are scrambling for contingency plans at third base now that Michael Young will be sidelined for at least two to three weeks because of a strained left hamstring.

"We'll miss everything about Michael," manager Ron Washington said. "His hitting, defense, leadership, work ethic. He's one of the guys who shows up at the ballpark that everybody feeds off of. But this doesn't mean there is going to be a lull. There are no excuses. We have to play baseball. We'll continue to play good baseball. We'll get it done."

Young, who had an MRI on Wednesday, is hoping to be back in the lineup when the Rangers open a three-game series with the Angels on Sept. 18. He injured the hamstring running to first base on a grounder in the fourth inning of the second game of a doubleheader on Tuesday night.

"I'm looking at the bright side," Young said. "I'm not going to pout. There's no doubt I would love to be on the field the next couple of weeks. But when I came out of the game [Tuesday] night, I thought my season would be over. There's still a chance I could be back for the last two weeks. I'm looking at what I've gained, not what I've lost.

"I'm going to be aggressive in my rehab. There are a lot of things I can do to get my hamstring ready to play. Other than that, I'm going to get my pom-poms out and be a cheerleader."

Washington decided on Wednesday to use Davis at third base and Hank Blalock at first against Blue Jays starter Scott Richmond. Davis played 32 games at third base last season and was used there at Triple-A Oklahoma this summer after he was sent down at the beginning of July.

But Washington said he would prefer to keep Davis at first base and doesn't want him bouncing back and forth across the diamond. That means he will use Vizquel and German at third base. Vizquel has started two games at third base and played six more in reserve this season, but that's the first time he has played the position in his career.

Vizquel, an 11-time Gold Glove winner at shortstop, played the last five innings after Young came out on Tuesday and made a terrific diving stop on John McDonald's sixth-inning grounder then got to his knees and made a strong throw to first for the out.

"Third base is different," Vizquel said. "I never played there before this year but at least it's on the same side of the field as shortstop. I feel more comfortable playing third than second. I'm used to seeing the game on that side of the field. I don't have to move as much, I just have to react."

Blalock is a two-time All-Star third baseman but that was before he had Thoracic Outlet Syndrome in his right shoulder in 2007. His arm has not been the same since and he has since moved to first base. He has played just one game at third base this season and that was in May during Interleague Play in Houston. He is no longer an option at third base.

"If Hank is going to be in the lineup, it's going to be at first base," Washington said. "I think we'll be covered at third base."

German has played 92 games, including 67 starts, at third base during the course of an eight-year career. He also brings some offense with him, batting .319 with a .419 on-base percentage and 35 stolen bases in 105 games at Oklahoma City this season.

But Young is sixth in the American League with a .322 batting average and fourth with 168 hits. His .524 slugging percentage is the highest among American League third basemen and his .900 OPS trails only that of the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez among AL third basemen. He is a six-time All-Star who was the American League's starting third baseman in the All-Star Game.

He is a big reason the Rangers went into Wednesday's game with the fourth-best record in the American League while sitting 3 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the Wild Card race and 4 1/2 behind the Angels in the West.

"I've been here for nine years, and this is a golden opportunity," Young said. "To miss games is disappointing, but I'm going to do the rehab with the idea I have something to play for."

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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