HOUSTON -- It would appear to make for lousy timing for Delwyn Young.
He and the Pirates are heading into Los Angeles today to face the Dodgers, the team that traded him for fringe minor league reliever Eric Krebs and a solitary dollar, for the first time. And he will be lugging along a hitless streak of 24 at-bats, plus a longer 5-for-59 slump spanning 19 games.
"Honestly, I'm not really thinking about any of that," Young said yesterday. "The Dodgers are just another team we face. I'm still in the same league. It's not a big deal."
And the slump?
"If I knew we wouldn't be having this conversation," he said with a laugh. "You probably know my stats the past few weeks, but I don't. People are different. Some of these guys know all their stats, but I don't really get into that."
Not at all?
"Well, I haven't talked to Perry Hill on the bases for a while," he said, referring to the first base coach. "So, yeah, I've got an idea. If I keep passing Perry, I know I'm doing well."
There is another stark sign, too: Young, his average down to .268 after hovering at .300 most of the summer, was out of the starting lineup yesterday for the fourth time in seven games.
"He was playing every day for a long while there, and that's not something he was used to before," manager John Russell said. "We've put a lot of emphasis on his defense, too, with how much Perry's had him out on the field. I'm sure fatigue's got a little to do with it."
A year ago, the Pirates approached three players -- catcher Ryan Doumit, starter Paul Maholm and outfielder Nate McLouth -- with preliminary offers to discuss multiyear extensions. All three would end up being signed in the winter.
Nothing yet this year.
The most likely player to be approached at some point is All-Star starter Zach Duke, who is making $2.2 million and, because he is second-year eligible for salary arbitration, will receive a substantial raise.
• The home run by Houston's Lance Berkman in the ninth initially was ruled a double by second base umpire Derryl Cousins, but he changed his call after talking to Houston manager Cecil Cooper. The explanation given to Russell: Cousins saw where the ball hit correctly but was unaware of the ground rule. "It was a home run," Russell said.
• There have been no new exchanges between the Pirates and Rob Plummer, the agent representing Miguel Angel Sano, the standout Dominican prospect. Plummer did not discuss details but said that matters were "progressing."
• Reliever Jose Ascanio threw his first full bullpen session since his shoulder was injured last month, described it as "great," and reiterated that he expects to pitch in the final week or two.