Described by Padres GM Kevin Towers as “The Big Continent” (perhaps in deference to all the fans of Stuart Adamson packing Petco most nights), 1B Walter Young is profiled by the North County Times’ Brian Hiro.
When Walter Young carried his 322 pounds into the Camden Yards batter’s box for his first major-league at-bat last September, he became the largest player by listed weight to appear in a major-league game. During batting practice that month, Young joined a select list of sluggers to hit a ball off the warehouse looming beyond right field of Baltimore’s retro ballpark.
Once the norm, such jaw-dropping displays had grown increasingly rare for Young, the 6-foot-5 mountain of a first baseman whom the Padres claimed off waivers in January. He was losing power as if he were Sampson after a haircut.
“Toward the end of last season,” Young said, “I could feel myself getting weaker.”
Having increased his muscle mass and shaved about 15 pounds of unwanted flab, the 26-year-old Young is now showing the Padres the fruits of his labor. Looking like a supersized Mo Vaughn, the left-handed hitter last weekend launched two balls in batting practice that soared over the weight room that sits about 30 feet past the right-field fence of the main diamond.
“He has pretty much hit at every level he’s been,” Towers said. “If anything, he’d be a pretty good guy coming off the bench if he shows that he’s a good contact hitter —- to have that kind of power.
“He’s big, but he carries himself well for a big man. The way he moves around and acts, he doesn’t look like a lumbering guy.”
New York’s Billy Wagner and Cleveland’s C.C. Sabathia are the latest two pitchers to pull out of Team USA’s WBC squad. Their roster spots will be taken by Gary Majewski and Al Leiter, which sounds like a nice exchange for The Rest Of The World.
Vladimir Guerrero, grieving over the loss of 3 cousins in a traffic accident this past weekend, will not be playing for the Dominican Republic.