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D-backs send struggling Young to Triple-A

D-backs option Young to Triple-A

PHOENIX -- The D-backs kept thinking with just a little more time, outfielder Chris Young would find his stroke at the plate.

On Monday, with Young hitting just .194 and mired in a 2-for-27 slump, the D-backs optioned him to Triple-A Reno.

"I think we've been patient historically with a lot of players as they've struggled, and a lot of times they get through it and that's obviously the preferred outcome," Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes said. "C.Y. was just continuing to struggle."

The demotion is a stunning reversal for a player who in 2007 became the first rookie in Major League history to hit at least 30 homers and steal at least 25 bases. Last season, he hit .278 after the All-Star break and finished with 22 homers and 85 RBIs.

Young carried that over to a solid spring, but by the end of April, he was hitting under .200 where he remained for the most part other than a couple of stretches of success that got his average as high as .204.

The Triple-A season ends Sept. 7, which allows for the possibility that Young could have four weeks with the Aces.

"At this point in the season, we just want to use enough time in Triple-A to give him some freedom to try a few things, experiment, clear his head a little bit and kind of rebuild a swing and approach that can allow for success up here," Byrnes said.

The D-backs acquired Young from the White Sox in December 2005 as part of a deal that included Javier Vazquez going to Chicago. It was regarded as a steal of sorts for the D-backs and that was reinforced when Young had such a good rookie campaign.

Last April, the D-backs signed him to a five-year, $28 million contract. Based on his rookie year, his second half in 2008 and the flashes he's shown this year, the team still feels like it will get a good return on its investment.

"It's difficult because, one, he's very talented and, two, he really cares," Byrnes said. "We never view these kinds of decisions as some sort of a public demonstration or to be punitive. We do it because we think it's the right way to fix it."

Infielder Rusty Ryal had his contract selected from Reno to take Young's place on the roster. Ryal has played second, third and left field during his time in the Minors and D-backs manager A.J. Hinch likened Ryal to utiltyman Ryan Roberts.

"He's a gritty guy that gets the most out of his abilities," Hinch said.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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