Young benefits from consistent approach
Maturing D-backs outfielder pulls out of 1-for-22 slump
DENVER -- Last year, it was a stretch that might have sent Chris Young into a tailspin for weeks.
This year, though, the 1-for-22 slump Young endured last week disappeared quickly.
The D-backs' center fielder entered play Tuesday riding a four-game hitting streak during which he hit .471. Whereas in the past he may have started tinkering with his swing, Young has stuck with consistent mechanics right on through.
"Even in his 1-for-22 he was swinging the bat a little better," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. "He's finding ways to pull himself out of these ruts. Maybe it's a maturity, maybe it's a calmness. He's really got down to the basics of this is what I do, this is who I am. That mentality has led to more consistency."
Last season was one Young would just as soon forget as he needed a red-hot September to pull his average up to .212. During the offseason, he worked with a hitting coach, a track coach as well as a personal trainer.
From Day One of Spring Training, he has appeared more confident and relaxed.
"I don't know when it is during a guy's career that the game slows down, but when it does, it's pretty obvious and I think for him he's starting to enter that phase of his career," Hinch said.
LaRoche enjoying rare April success
DENVER -- Might Adam LaRoche's days of struggling during the month of April be over?
The D-backs first baseman is hitting .286 with a pair of homers and 10 RBIs this year and last year he hit .269 in the season's opening month.
Now, those aren't Hall of Fame numbers, but when you consider his April average in 2008 was .174, .133 in 2007 and .207 for his career, you can see why hitting .286 is a big deal.
"When you get that label, you get that tag, it's hard to get rid of it," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said of LaRoche not being a good April hitter. "His April last year was fine. It wasn't miserable. He's settled in nicely. He's been playing through some difficulties with his quad."
LaRoche, who signed with the D-backs as a free agent in January, missed three games due to the right quad injury. He started the year 0-for-13 before catching fire. One thing that has remained constant, though, is his defense.
"His defense has been as advertised," Hinch said. "He's saved us a number of outs, a number of runs that we may not have had with a less defensive first baseman."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.