Young slotted to play second vs. Giants

Young slotted to play second vs. Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Eric Young Jr.'s consistently strong at-bats have earned him, most likely, starts at second base throughout the Rockies' key series with the Giants.

Young entered Monday having hit .333 with a .368 on-base percentage in 16 games since joining the Rockies. Regular second baseman Clint Barmes has struggled for much of the second half and is a combined 1-for-11 this season and 3-for-42 career against the three Giants starters for the set -- Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito and Matt Cain -- which contributed to the lineup decision.

Young is 1-for-4 against Lincecum, Monday's starter.

"I have yet to see the kid take a bad at-bat," Tracy said. "I sat down with Clint earlier this afternoon and he completely understands what the plan of attack is."

Young, 24, was called up to play center field on Aug. 25 after Dexter Fowler suffered a bruised right knee. Tracy fed him regular starts and at-bats immediately. He has maintained a good hitting eye even though he's been used in a reserve role over the past several days.

"Those starts early helped me because I got to see a lot of different pitchers and got a lot of big league at-bats, right off the bat," Young said. "I'm sharp, so when they call on me I can get something going."

Young credits veteran pinch-hitter Jason Giambi with helping accelerate his Major League learning curve. Giambi played against Young's father, who played second base for the Rockies and several other teams, and struck up a quick friendship with the son.

Giambi, released by the Athletics in early August, went to Triple-A Colorado Springs to regain his swing before joining the Rockies on Sept. 1. When Giambi arrived, he began offering Young advice.

Now it's an interesting working relationship. Both being left-handed hitters, Giambi and Young talk throughout the game in the dugout. Young said it has helped him understand his role better. Giambi, who credited Mark McGwire with teaching him early in his career with the Athletics, said he's happy to help a player who should have a bright career.

"I love his game," Giambi said. "That's the biggest thing. He's one of those players who could be a huge impact player when he gets his opportunity. I'm just trying to set him up mentally to be prepared for big situations. If he gets an opportunity, he can change a game."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.