Chris Young hit a grand slam to highlight the third game of his Minor League rehab assignment Wednesday as the Visalia Rawhide crushed the High Desert Mavericks for the second straight day, 13-7.
Young, on the D-backs' 15-day disabled list with a shoulder injury, cleared the bases in the fourth inning with a homer to left off Mavericks starter James Gillheeney. The Mavericks' starter had allowed four consecutive singles before facing the D-backs' 2010 MVP, who ended up 1-for-4 before being replaced by a pinch-hitter.
Young, who served as the Rawhide's designated hitter, left the ballpark after his final at-bat and was not available for comment. But Visalia hitting coach Jacob Cruz said the Major League veteran looked "great" at the plate.
"He looked a lot better, he said he felt great," Cruz said. "His extension through the pitches was great, and more than anything, he was trying to get his timing and rhythm at the plate. And he definitely accomplished that while he was here."
Young flied out in the first -- a potential home run that was held up by the wind, according to High Desert's Taylor Ward on Twitter -- and struck out swinging to end the third. He also grounded into a forceout to end the fifth. Garrett Weber replaced him in the seventh.
Young is expected to continue his rehab assignment Thursday with Triple-A Reno. D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said Tueday there is an "outside shot" Young could return before Arizona completes its road trip Sunday.
Visalia, which scored 26 runs in a rout of the Mavs on Tuesday, took an 8-1 lead on Young's grand slam, the eighth homer allowed by Gillheeney in his last six starts.
"It was a 2-0 fastball, middle-in, belt-high, and he did what he's supposed to do with that pitch," Cruz said. "It was a legit homer, definitely a home run in every ballpark. He looked good, looked comfortable and had good timing."
Young was placed on the DL a day after crashing into the wall making a catch on April 17. He began swinging a bat again on May 1 and saw action in some extended spring training games by May 10.
"It was an extremely positive day -- a few days ago I didn't know if I'd be able to do all that," Young told MLB.com on May 7 after throwing from 120 feet. "However my rehab is going, it affects my mood for that day, and today I'm in a great mood."
Young joined Visalia, Arizona's California League affiliate, on Monday and went 1-for-4 with a double and two strikeouts. He had a pair of doubles and three RBIs in the Tuesday's 26-11 romp.
As far as Cruz can tell, Young's shoulder is pain-free.
"From what I gathered, yes; from what he told me, from at-bat to at-bat, he was feeling good, healthy," Cruz said. "More importantly, from what he said, he's ready to go."
Cruz may not want to see him leave so soon, though -- the Rawhide have driven in 39 runs in two days, thanks in part to Young's bat and presence in the dugout.
"Honestly, I think it's a real treat. He's really professional -- a true big league player on the field and off the field," Cruz said. "He took the time to talk to them in the cages -- we had a few free minutes working in the cage and he took some time and talked to the players, gave them advice about what it's like being a young player coming up through the Minors.
"They took his advice to heart, it was a great treat for all of us, he's a class act. He was a classy person with us and, hopefully, some of these guys will get some motivation out of it."
Call it motivation or luck or vintage Cal League ball, but the Rawhide didn't have any trouble imitating the former Home Run Derby participant. Chris Owings had four hits and fell a triple shy of the cycle, while Bobby Borchering and Keon Broxton also went deep, a day after Mike Freeman tied a league record with seven hits.
"We came into the season with high expectations and we haven't lived up to them, so this series was nice for everyone," said Cruz. "It's a nice confidence-booster. Hopefully, we can carry that over, but it's good to see the guys get hits, having fun and enjoying the game."