Young looks to shake hitting woes in pinch role

Young looks to shake hitting woes in pinch role

SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies outfielder Eric Young Jr. celebrated his 28th birthday Saturday with the hope that adding a candle would mark the beginning of losing a slump.

In his last 16 games, Young has hit .140 (6-for-43) and seen his batting average drop from .310 to .252. He started many of those games.

Now, with Michael Cuddyer back from a neck injury and the defensively strong Charlie Blackmon on the roster as an outfield backup, Young might have to find his groove in a pinch-hitting role. Young struck out as a pinch-hitter Friday and is 0-for-11 with seven strikeouts in the role this season, after hitting .245 in 53 pinch-hit at-bats last season.

Young said he is still confident.

"Sometimes you don't get the results you want but the process is right. You're hitting the ball on the barrel but you're not hitting the ball in the holes or finding the gap," Young said. "Just continue what you're doing and work your way through it. Everybody's going to go through down times, but either you're totally off or hitting it at people."

If pinch-hitting is going to be his role for the time being, Young said he will have an appropriate approach.

"Maybe you just try to focus on being aggressive, getting a fastball to hit and just trying to square it up," Young said.

Manager Walt Weiss said, "He's still a weapon. We'll try to keep him involved, like everybody else."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.