Game worth the wait for Young
Infield single in ninth another highlight in special season
SAN FRANCISCO -- Nationals first baseman Dmitri Young came a long way to play in the 2007 All-Star Game. It was a longer trip than just the plane flight from Washington D.C. to the Bay Area.It's been an eight-month journey for Young, who had to rebuild his career after almost dying from diabetes following his release by the Tigers late last season. But when Young came to bat during the ninth inning of the the 78th Midsummer Classic on Tuesday night at AT&T Park, it was a crowning moment, despite the National League's 5-4 loss. "It's a gratifying feeling because of all the work I put behind this," said Young, an All-Star with Detroit in 2003. "I truly earned this." Young wouldn't quit on himself after he was diagnosed with diabetes in November, and he wouldn't let the NL quit on Tuesday either. Young didn't make it into the game until the bottom of the ninth, with two outs and the NL trailing by 5-2. In a five-pitch at-bat against Mariners closer J.J. Putz, Young singled to shallow right, escaping the dubious honor of making the final out. "That second pitch was real nasty," he said. "I really had to bear down." Young grounded the ball hard to second baseman Brian Roberts, who bobbled just long enough for Young to make it to first. "I was begging just to get there, then the ball kind of bounced out," Young said. Young's single kept the Senior Circuit alive and opened the door for Alfonso Soriano, who was waiting on deck and hit a towering homer over the right-field wall. With the game now 5-4, the NL then loaded the bases and looked like it might actually win their first game in 10 years ... all on the heels of Young's single. Of course, the NL ultimately lost, but Young gave them a chance. Even if Young hadn't made it into the game on Tuesday, just making it on the All-Star roster was reward enough for the veteran. The single was a bonus. "It made the game real exciting in the bottom of the ninth," Young said.
Becky Regan is an associate reporter at MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.