- Associated Press - Sunday, February 20, 2011

Michael Young asked for a change of scenery a month ago after another role change with the Texas Rangers.

Now, he’s fine where he’s at _ wherever that may be on the field.

“He said he wasn’t going to be a distraction. That was it,” manager Ron Washington said Sunday, relaying what Young said during a scheduled team meeting before the workout.

The longest-tenured Rangers player going into his 11th season, Young has a different role for the third time in eight springs. He’s expected to be the team’s primary designated hitter and utility infielder after the offseason acquisition of Adrian Beltre supplanted Young at third base, the position he played the last two seasons.

Young had requested a trade last month, but with no deal done, he reported to camp on time Saturday and said he was focused on getting ready for the season.

“First and foremost I’m a baseball player. There’s nothing to block out,” said Young, who took grounders at second base for the first time in several years. “For it to become public is regretful but I’ve got no regrets. Baseball is my life sport. It’s my entire life.”

Elsewhere in spring training, new Dodgers manager Don Mattingly conceded he had some jitters about standing up to give the first speech to the entire team when the position players arrive in camp Monday.

Also, Yankees captain Derek Jeter said he plans to enjoy his upcoming trip to 3,000 career hits, and Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore hopes to be ready for opening day after knee surgery.

At Surprise, Ariz., Washington said he plans for Young, the team’s career hits leader and a six-time All-Star, to get some work at first base this spring even though most of his at-bats will come as the DH.

Young became a starter for the Rangers in 2001 at second base, moved to shortstop before the 2004 season after Alex Rodriguez was traded, then was switched to third base two years ago when the Rangers decided to promote Elvis Andrus from the minors.

“It feels like home for me on defense,” Young said. “I hadn’t played there in years, played there in the World Baseball Classic and it was like I never left.”

At Glendale, Ariz., Mattingly acknowledged he was nervous when talking to the Dodgers’ pitchers and catchers when they reported Wednesday.

“It’s the first time. You’re starting out and you’re trying to create an environment and let the players know how you think,” Mattingly said.

Most of the position players have already been working out at the facility this week, but Monday is their official reporting day. He inherits a club that lost its way under Joe Torre in the second half of 2010, going 80-82 and finishing fourth in the NL West.

“How long have I been thinking about it? The whole winter,” Mattingly said when asked about the speech. “A lot of it is talking from your heart, but making sure I have some type of direction.

“You make notes over time. There will be parts of that speech from things I might have heard my second spring training that I ever went to as a player.”

At Tampa, Fla., Jeter is preparing for a season that could put him in a special spot as he is 74 hits from 3,000.

“It’s going to be a party the whole year,” Jeter joked. “I’ve always been one that tries to shy away from anything that’s personal and not talk about it much. Couldn’t wait for it to be over with because I really didn’t like the focus to be on me. Now, I think, it’s going to be more of enjoying every day.”

The 36-year-old Jeter had an off season in 2010, hitting .270, which was well below his career average of .314.

“I’m motivated coming into every season,” Jeter said. “I understand what my job is. My job is to come and play shortstop and try to help this team win. That’s never changed over 15 years, and it’s not going to change now.”

At Goodyear, Ariz., as the Indians held their first full-squad workout of spring training, Sizemore was on his own program with the goal to be ready for opening day. He is recovering from microfracture knee surgery performed last June and knows he needs to be patient.

“It’s hard, but it’s been such a long rehab,” Sizemore said. “I’m not looking to push anything and make it worse. The whole thing from the surgery was it would be a long recovery. I’ve been following that and going step by step.”

Sizemore has been taking batting practice, throwing and jogging. On Sunday he did light sprints and agility drills in which he moved from side to side for the first time. There’s no timetable for when Sizemore will resume full baseball activities.

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