Lefthanded pitcher Shane Youman signed with the Ducks on June 4, his fifth Atlantic League team in four seasons. Youman, 31, spent parts of two seasons (2006-07) with the Pittsburgh Pirates, going a combined 3-7 with a 5.13 ERA in 21 appearances (11 starts). A 43rd-round pick of the Pirates in 2001, he was part of the 2000 LSU team that won the College World Series. Entering Sunday, he was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 121/3 innings. In his first start with the team June 23, he threw six scoreless innings.
How were you spending 2011 before signing with the Ducks?"I was actually at home in Louisiana, staying at home for the first time in a long time, still staying in outstanding shape, and working on getting a mentoring group off the ground with a few of my friends."
What made you decide to come back this season?
"I still felt strong and was in shape. I threw for a couple of affiliated teams earlier in the spring and, at the time, there were no openings. But the readings I got back from those scouts were positive."
Talk about winning the College World Series.
"That was a dream come true, something we discussed at every practice during the season."
Who was the most intimidating hitter you faced in the majors?
"Albert Pujols. Not only is he a power hitter who hits for average, he is also disciplined at the plate. He is not going to chase pitches."
Did Pujols ever take you deep?
"No, he didn't take me deep. I think I gave up a single to him, got him out a few times and walked him once [Note: Pujols went 1-for-3 with a walk against Youman], although I thought I struck him out on the walk."
So you thought you had Pujols struck out looking?
"Yeah, it was a 3-2 pitch. I thought I got the outside corner, but the umpire didn't think so."
What major-leaguer were you most excited to meet?
"Ken Griffey Jr. [in 2007]. Easily. Because growing up and being young, I was a lefthanded hitter who played the outfield. He made the game look so easy. I even had a Griffey jersey. To meet him and actually shake his hand was a big moment for me.
"I got to face him once. That was a blast for me."
How did you do against him?
"I got him to fly out. I really thought he was going to hammer that pitch out of the park, since I left it up. But I got him out in front of it a little bit."
What are you most proud of in your career?
"Making that major-league debut as a starting pitcher [Sept. 10, 2006 against the Cincinnati Reds], since I never thought I'd be a starting pitcher at the major-league level. Having my family come up to Cincinnati to see me pitch, my mom and my grandparents and my dad, that was the biggest moment."
THE WEEK AHEAD
Tomorrow: vs. York, 6:35 p.m.
Wednesday: vs. York, 6:35 p.m.
Thursday: vs. York, 6:35 p.m.
Friday: at Somerset, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday: at Somerset, 7:05 p.m.
Sunday: at Somerset, 6:05 p.m.