Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 8/9/12

Not that long ago, Eric Young Jr. seemed to have a limited major league future.

Young was a defensive liability at second base, his original position, and was having trouble in the outfield. Specifically, reading fly balls was a challenge and getting good jumps on them was iffy.

And Young's arm was a weakness.

Young possessed speed, but didn't reach base often enough to make it count. And he wasn't particularly good at stealing bases, despite his ability to run.

But through endless hours of hard work, Young has made himself into a very usable outfielder, at all three positions, and an asset for the Rockies.

In their three-game series against the Dodgers that ended Wednesday, Young went 8-for-14 (.571) and scored five of the nine runs the Rockies tallied while winning twice.

Young also hit the 13th inside-the-park home run in club history and the first leading off the first inning.

Manager Jim Tracy has praised Young for his work ethic, his dedication and his willingness to do whatever asked. Mostly that was pinch running or pinch hitting before right fielder Michael Cuddyer sustained an oblique strain on July 31 and went on the disabled list.

A few days later, first baseman Todd Helton opted for season-ending surgery on his right hip, meaning Tyler Colvin will see more time at first base, which will give Young more time in the outfield.

At this point, Young doesn't need to worry about who's healthy and who isn't. He has given the Rockies a spark at the top of the order and has played his way into the lineup.

Young started in center field and had three hits on July 31 in the game in which Cuddyer was injured. Beginning with that game, Young has started six of the last nine games.

In those six starts, he has had five multi-hit games and has gone 14-for-27 (.519) with eight runs, with that one exciting home run and one RBI.

The home run came on Chad Billingsley's fourth pitch of the game, when Young hit a ball off the center field wall, and the ball got past center fielder Matt Kemp.

"I didn't see it," Young said. "I just knew he missed it. Rounding second, coach (Rich Dauer at third base) waving his arms crazy. I knew we were going for it and I wanted to make that final stretch for it.

"I just put a good swing on it, saw the trajectory and immediately put my head down. Initially, I was out of the box thinking double."

Young has raised his average to .299 (40-for-134) and has silenced the skeptics who questioned whether he belonged in the big leagues.

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