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Young makes strong return from disabled list

KANSAS CITY -- Chris Young's return couldn't have come at a better time for the D-backs.

The team has struggled of late, but it got an All-Star center fielder back in the lineup for this weekend's Interleague series with the Royals.

On Friday, the D-backs reinstated Young from the 15-day disabled list and optioned outfielder A.J. Pollock to Triple-A Reno.

Young had been on the DL with a right shoulder contusion since April 18. In his first game back as the designated hitter, Young went 1-for-4 with a two-run double to help the D-backs earn a 6-4 win.

Young said regardless of his line at the end of the night, he was happy to be back in the game.

"It was great," Young said. "No matter how many at-bats you get in the Minor Leagues, when you get here it's just completely different. You've got a little more adrenaline flowing. You're locked in a little more. ... It was great to be back in the lineup. It didn't even matter about the results today. Just to get back in the groove of things and get my legs back under me, and get into a baseball game, it was great."

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said Young would probably play in the field on Saturday.

"[My] shoulder's come a long way. It's been good," Young said. "[Thursday] I went to Reno and did everything on the baseball field I had to do, from hitting to throwing to sliding. Sometimes when you think of an injury, you think, "OK, can I hit and can I throw?" and that's all. But there's other things that come, too. So I actually got out there on the bases and slid around, bumped around a little bit just to make sure that everything was cool."

Young will be counted on to provide some offense for an Arizona team that owns a 6-11 mark in May after Friday's win. Young, 28, went 4-for-15 with three doubles, a home run and eight RBIs in four rehab games with Class A Visalia and Triple-A Reno.

"I understand what everybody's going through," Young said. "We went through the same things in seasons past, and we've proven to ourselves that we can pick each other up. That's what I'm planning on doing."

Young played 11 games in April before heading to the DL. He was on fire to start the year, and carried a .410 batting average and a 1.397 OPS heading into Friday's game. Young's hit five home runs and racked up 13 RBIs this season.

Young said he enjoyed his rehab assignment in the Minor Leagues. He particularly enjoyed talking with the Minor League players, imparting advice about his road to the big leagues. Young also treated them to some good eats.

"Any time you have a Major League guy that's in the Minor Leagues and they're not eating good, you're probably going to get talked bad about," Young said. "I made sure to get some Outback for them, some Olive Garden and Subway and things like that, just to make sure they had enough energy to play."

Pollock, 24, batted .229 with two doubles, a home run and four RBIs in 20 games with Arizona. His contract was purchased from the Aces on April 18 and he recorded his first Major League hit on April 23, a single off Philadelphia's Jose Contreras.

Arizona Diamondbacks, A.J. Pollock, Chris Young