DENVER -- Deep into his fourth big league season, outfielder Eric Young Jr. is having the best month of his career.
Young homered Tuesday and Wednesday, going deep in back-to-back games for the first time in his career. His .451 (23-for-51) average in August entering Thursday is the best in the Majors, as is his .464 average since July 31. He's had 10 multi-hit games while starting 13 of the Rockies' last 15 games, and has five multi-hit games in a row.
As a result, when Michael Cuddyer returned to the lineup Thursday after a 15-day stint on the disabled list, he moved to first base, making room for Young in the outfield and filling a void left when Todd Helton went on the DL Aug. 6 for right hip arthroscopy.
"You cannot take it away from him -- not going to," manager Jim Tracy said of Young's chance to stay in the outfield mix. "Not fair to him or the ballclub. We're going to continue to run him out there to different spots in the outfield. He's swinging the bat as well as a player can swing the bat right now, [and] the progress he's made defensively has created an interesting dynamic."
Young entered the season as a career .246 hitter, with last year's .247 in 77 games marking a career high in both categories. With increased playing time this year (94 games entering Thursday), he is hitting .323 (52-for-161), and he extended his hitting streak to six games with a leadoff single against the Marlins on Thursday.
"He's bringing quite a bit of energy to the top of our lineup," Tracy said. "He's playing at a very high level right now, he's playing with a lot of confidence, and he's doing a lot of very positive things for the club. He's helped to energize this club over the last couple of weeks."
Young has paced the Rockies to a 7-7 August, having won six of their last nine, including a three-game sweep of the Brewers. They haven't played .500 for the course of a month since April (11-11).
"We've played very consistently offensively, and our starting pitching has been better," Tracy said. "I saw [we're] 34-33 when our starter pitches five innings. We have a winning record. That says an awful lot about this team, the character, the fact of recognizing the area that we need to improve in. We're making strides in that direction."