Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Young Dmitri Has the Demeanor of a Veteran When He's Hitting

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Young Dmitri Has the Demeanor of a Veteran When He's Hitting

Article excerpt

Unless you're a pitcher, it's impossible to dislike Dmitri Young. He's 24 years old, a man in life but a rookie in baseball. Imagine the Cardinals as a family. And in their clubhouse, Young is everyone's little brother.

Like a big kid, Young wears braces on his teeth. Red on the top and blue on the bottom. Team colors. Cute. The other day in Houston, Young sat in a chair while teammate Delino DeShields gave him a fashionable haircut.

Young easily absorbs good-natured teasing by his teammates. He likes to collect baseball cards and Hot Wheels cars. He watches pro wrestling on TV. "I really like pro wrestling," Young said. That's the innocent, precocious side of D. Young. Now, just place a bat in his hands and he changes into a hit man. Cool. Calculating. Cunning. Young has only 47 major-league at-bats, but he handles the stick like an old pro. He stands in the batter's box as if he's been part of the show for his entire life. "Hitting has always been natural for me," Young said. "Growing up, I never had a problem recognizing the various pitches. I feel comfortable with the bat." Ozzie Smith made the observation Tuesday night on Channel 11, during the Cardinals' home opener against Montreal: Young is fearless. Not intimidated by major-league pitchers. "I just go up there, and I have a job to do," Young said. "It's the season now. There's a lot at stake. I can't be scared. I have to maintain a positive attitude, like I can go up there and hit anyone." Going into today's game at Busch Stadium, Young leads Cardinals regulars in batting average, doubles, total bases, RBIs and slugging percentage. Young is batting .333; the other Cardinals are hitting .183. Did you see Young's nonreaction in Montreal last week when he spiked his first big-league home run? Basically, there was no reaction. He just hiked around the bases. Completed the jog. No carrying on. Young expects to have success, and the home-run initiation was just another part of the process. …

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