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December 04, 2012

What will Michael Young's role be with 2013 Rangers?

Rangers manager Ron Washington just completed his round with the media, addressing a number of topics as best he could or as much as he was willing to do. The latter means he didn't want to share any information on Josh Hamilton.

But he was asked multiple questions about Michael Young, whose playing time could be squeezed significantly if Jurickson Profar forces (or is forced) into the lineup at second base. That move, it seems, would push Ian Kinsler to first base and leave Young seeking time at designated hitter or as an injury fill-in with, presumably, another deposed first baseman, Mitch Moreland.

Washington didn't commit to a number of at-bats, but still considers Young to be a "big part of the team."

"Right now, we've just got to wait and see when we get to spring training," Washington said. "Michael is a big part of this team, and as far as I'm concerned, he's going to continue to be a big part of the team."

Young had one of the worst seasons of his career in 2012, with a slash line of .277/.312/.370 and only eight homers from the No. 5 spot in the lineup. His defense is also not what it once was. Washington, though, seems willing to give Young the benefit of the doubt based on Young's overall body of work.

"By his standards, his year was a little off," Young said. "Just showing up every day and playing the game for -- what? -- his 12th or 13th year, things didn't fall into place."

But Washington acknowledged that the Rangers have a glut of infielders that will have to shake out in spring training. Young could see his playing reduced in the final year of his five-year, $80 million contract.

"We've just got to wait and see because, you know, there's some youth that's going to be infused, and we've just got to wait and see how that process works," Washington said.

-- Jeff Wilson

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