Walter Young has learned to go the other way hoping it will lead to the road that takes him to the big leagues.
Young, who is a 6-foot-5, 295-pound left-handed-swinging first baseman for the Orioles' first-place Triple-A club at Ottawa, is best known for his power. However, a recent adjustment that began at Bowie last year has him near the top of the International League in batting average.
FOR THE RECORD - An article in yesterday's sports section incorrectly reported the manner in which the Orioles acquired minor league player Walter Young. The Orioles claimed him off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Sun regrets the errors.
It was only in the past few days that Young, 25, relinquished his batting lead to teammate and fellow first baseman-designated hitter Alejandro Freire, a veteran minor leaguer who will be 31 in August.
Freire is batting .392 with 29 hits in 74 at-bats while Young was at .384 with 28 hits in 73 trips before yesterday's doubleheader with the Buffalo Bisons. Young has two homers and 16 RBIs to Freire's four homers and 19 RBIs.
"I started off pretty rough last year, struggling and trying to do too much, but after that, I started using left field more and stopped trying to hit the ball out of the park every at-bat," said Young, who spent five years in the Pittsburgh Pirates' system after being chosen in the 31st round of the 1999 June draft.
The Orioles acquired Young in the 2003 Rule 5 draft, and he is in his second season with the major league team.
"I let my natural talent take over and it kind of worked out for me. My batting average raised a little bit and I hit some long balls, too."
Young put up some big numbers at Double-A Bowie last summer and earned an invitation to the Orioles' spring training, where he batted .278 in 11 games. Before this season, Baseball America named Young the best power hitter in the Orioles' organization after he set a single-season record for homers (33) at Bowie in 2004.
In 133 games for the Baysox, Young also drove in 98 runs, scored 88 and played in the Eastern League All-Star Game.
Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli and his staff thought a full year at Triple-A with batting instructor Dave Cash working with him would really help.
"This year I came in using that same method, using left field to open up that inside pitch I'm supposed to hit to right field, " said Young, a football All-American at Purvis (Miss.) High as a defensive end who signed a letter of intent to LSU before signing a pro baseball contract.
"Dave Cash has helped me out a lot, with the little things you seem to forget. We have a lot of older players who have been around and played at this level. Getting to talk to those guys has helped me, too."
Young says the baseball "is pretty big right now" coming to home plate. He says opposing pitchers think players his size are "looking to pull the ball every at-bat and drive it to right, but only do that now on pitchers' mistakes."
Young, who throws right-handed, is not just a big bat. In 2002 with the Pirates' Single-A Hickory Crawdads, he was named the South Atlantic League's best defensive first baseman by Baseball America. Last summer at Bowie, he made only three errors in 80 games after June 1.
John Maine got his first win last week, allowing four hits in 5 1/3 innings to nip Buffalo, 3-2, on Friday. The right-hander struck out two, walked two and gave up one earned run to lower his ERA to 3.20. ... Jacobo Sequea earned his fifth save. ... Right-hander James Baldwin is 2-1 in 28 innings with a 4.18 ERA and 15 strikeouts.
Catcher Octavio Martinez has started just eight games, but in a doubleheader at Erie, he played in both games and went 4-for-5 with a double and triple. ... Yesterday's 12-3 loss to Reading left the Baysox 0-7 in day games. Veteran Eugene Kingsale homered in the ninth to end the Baysox's streak of 219 at-bats without a homer.
Mario Delgado leads the second-place Keys (10-12) in the Carolina League with a .406 batting average that includes six doubles, five homers and 14 RBIs. ... James Johnson lifted his record to 2-1 (2.08 ERA) by holding the Winston-Salem Warthogs scoreless through seven innings on the way to an 8-2 win. Johnson allowed two hits and struck out seven. ... Richard Stahl is 3-1 with a 2.31 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings.
The Shorebirds have been up and down at 13-11, good for fifth place in the South Atlantic League's Northern Division.
Orioles farm report
Baysox starters Hayden Penn, Brian Forystek and Eric DuBose gave up a combined eight hits in a three-game stretch.
Keys outfielder Nick Markakis is on a 21-for-74 (.284) run with eight doubles and 12 RBIs.
The Lynx's Dave Borkowski has evened his record at 2-2 and lowered his ERA from 3.91 to 3.19.
DuBose is 1-2 after yesterday's 12-3 loss to Reading, in which he gave up a pair of three-run homers.
Keys pitcher Adam Loewen has 24 strikeouts, but 21 walks.
Pitcher Tony Saunders (Glen Burnie High), who was at extended spring training, was hospitalized with back spasms and isn't expected to throw for a couple of weeks.