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Rockies-Mets series is a Young family reunion

Rockies-Mets series is a Young family reunion

DENVER -- At some point before Thursday night's game, Rockies coaches and players discussed strategy against various players in the Mets' lineup. But there was one voice fewer in the room when the subject was former Rockies player Eric Young Jr.

"When we talk about Junior, I'll probably remove myself from the conversation," said Rockies first-base coach and proud father Eric Young. "I don't have an opinion anyway. They don't think Dad is going to tell on his son on what to do with his weaknesses."

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The Youngs, who reunited and discussed their special relationship during a pregame media session, will be dealing with the difficult balance of family love and the desire to win ballgames over the next four days.

Young Jr., who was not in the starting lineup in the series opener, has struggled to a .135 batting average through 24 games. But being a switch-hitting outfielder and stolen-base specialist -- his 12 steals were second in the National League, he has to be accounted for as a late-innings factor.

Young Jr. spent much of his young life around the Rockies. His father was an original member of the club in 1993 and stayed until being sent to the Dodgers in 1997. The Rockies drafted Young Jr. in the 30th round in 2003, he made the Majors in 2009 and stayed until being traded to the Mets last season. Young stole a combined 46 bases between the clubs last year to lead the league.

Young Jr. said coming to Coors Field with his new club was made more special by the fact his dad was wearing the familiar No. 21. Junior wore with the Rockies. Young worked as a special instructor during Spring Training last season and joined manager Walt Weiss' staff this year.

"Playing-wise, I'm excited," Young Jr. said. "I can see the guys I haven't seen. But more importantly, this series coming back here, this is my first time seeing him put the Rockies uniform back on since he left."

The Youngs still remember a photo from years ago, when Senior hit a home run against the Atlanta Braves and his son, serving as bat boy, greeted him with a high-five at home plate. Also, the two played against each other in two Spring Training games near the end of Senior's career.

"When I was playing, at times I'd get mad and feisty in the dugout and I'd say something, but then I'd have to remember my baby's at the end of the dugout," Young said. "Now, to be on the same field, at the same time, I'm just a proud dad. This is like Father's Day to me."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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