Q&A with Dmitri Young

Q&A with Dmitri Young

In retrospect, Nationals general manager Jim Bowden made a wise decision by signing first baseman Dmitri Young to a two-year, $10 million extension in 2007. Nick Johnson is out for the rest season because of a wrist injury, and that means Young will be the everyday first baseman once again.

Last year, Young was the Nationals' everyday first baseman because Johnson missed the entire season because of a broken right leg and won the National League Comeback Player of the Year Award. Young hit. 320 with 13 home runs and 74 RBIs.

MLB.com caught up with Young before Wednesday's 5-4 victory over the Angels to talk about the Nationals, his good friend, Robert Fick, his brother, Delmon, and his dealings with diabetes.

MLB.com: How are doing when it comes to diabetes?

Dmitri Young: It's an everyday thing. There's no cure for it. There are so many advances and stuff. It's still new to me. I'm just doing what the doctors say. I check my blood sugar, I do exercises and take my insulin.

MLB.com: On Tuesday, we found out that Johnson will be out for the year. You are going to be the everyday first baseman. What was your reaction when you heard the news?

Young: It's one of those things where you always wish for the best for somebody. Then when you get the news, it's like opportunity presents itself again. I look at it from a standpoint, "OK, I have to take advantage of this situation again." But for him, personally, I just feel like this guy has loads and loads of talent. It's just freak injury after freak injury.

MLB.com: Let's talk about the Nationals. A lot of people expected them to be competing this year, but they are not playing well. What do you think is wrong?

Young: We can point fingers all day or say this or say that. We are just not winning. I'm going to leave it as vague as that. For me, personally, a glue is missing and that's Robert Fick.

MLB.com: Why do you say that?

Young: Robert Fick was the one who was able to talk to anybody -- good, bad or indifferent. He would get in your face. He's the kind of guy that wants the team to win. He wants the guys to play hard. He is almost like a throwback player.

In today's game, in my eyes, the game has gone corporate where you don't have the mom-and-pop owners. You have stadiums named after banks and things of that nature. Robert Fick fit the mold of the old-school player. He was fiery like Billy Martin and would go out there like Thurman Munson and have the team all fired up. Fick had that kind of leadership. Unfortunately, circumstances happened where they didn't want him back here.

MLB.com: Are you saying if Fick was still a member of the Nationals, the team would be winning?

Young: I wouldn't necessarily say winning, but I would say with Robert here, he would keep everybody in check.

MLB.com: Do you feel some people on the team are not in check?

Young: I wouldn't necessarily say that, but the atmosphere from last year vs. this year -- a lot of people that were here last year aren't here -- Brian Schneider, Ryan Church and Fick, who is looking for a job. I personally want him over here. I'm just one person.

MLB.com: From a talent standpoint, how do you think you are doing this year?

Young: OK. I'm a second-half player. I'm just getting out there playing -- seeing pitches. As the season goes on, the better I get.

MLB.com: Are you having fun?

Young: I would say that I am. I would rather be doing this than anything else.

MLB.com: You played against your brother, Delmon, last week in Minnesota. How do you think he is doing this year and what was it like to play against him?

Young: As time goes on, he is going to get better. He is probably putting pressure on himself. Maybe too many people are trying to tell him to do things out there as far as hitting is concerned.

I have a list of things before I move on to my next career. I can mark that one down (playing against Delmon).

MLB.com: What goals do you have for yourself?

Young: I killed my chances of going to the World Series in 2006. I want to go to the World Series some way, some how. I want to play with Delmon. The people that I helped in this game, I want to see them help the next man in the game.

MLB.com: Why do you want to play with Delmon?

Young: He's my little brother. ... All the advice I've given to guys in the past, I would like to give the same to him. I want to be with him just for one year. That's all he needs me for -- one year. Then I can get my RV and drive off into the sunset.

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