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September 28, 2009

Young Returns

Michael Young returned to the Rangers lineup Monday night, but Josh Hamilton did not.

Young was penciled in at third base, hitting in his customary third spot but manager Ron Washington said Hamilton is still having residual pain in his back from an irritated sciatic nerve.

"I didn't want to put him in there and have to pull him back out," Washington explained. He said Hamilton would be available as a pinch-hitter, however.

If you're wondering why the Rangers just don't shut Young and Hamilton down for the season, you're not alone, but that's not how baseball players or even teams look at things. You and I may figure the inevitable is coming, maybe as soon as tonight, but players play to the last breath.

"My reason is that I'm a professional baseball player and this game is on the schedule," Young said. "My role on this team goes beyond hitting and catching a groundball."

Both trainer Jamie Reed and assistant GM Thad Levine, who is on the trip, said doctors have cleared both Young and Hamilton to play if they feel like it.

"Both guys want to help this team win," Levine said.

Nelson Cruz does as well, but he was not in the lineup, despite hitting his team-leading 33rd home run Sunday in Texas. Washington opted instead to start Hank Blalock at DH, rookie Julio Borbon in left and David Murphy in right.

The starting lineup:

Julio Borbon, LF

Michael Young, 3B

David Murphy, RF

Marlon Byrd, CF

Hank Blalock, DH

Ian Kinsler, 2B

Chris Davis, 1B

Pudge Rodriguez, C

Elvis Andrus, SS

   _ JIM REEVES

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