Young Is Motivated, But Can He Play Right Field?

Delmon YoungRuben Amaro Jr. said a few times in the past couple weeks they would not put Delmon Young in a Phillies uniform unless he showed he could play competently in right field.

Apparently, they believe he can.

The Phillies activated him from the disabled list before tonight’s game against the Indians at Progressive Field, designating outfielder Ezequiel Carerrera for assignment to make room for him on the 25-man roster. Young hit fifth behind Ryan Howard in the Phillies lineup, serving as the designated hitter. Charlie Manuel said he expects Young to play in right tomorrow night.

It should be interesting to watch. Young has been recovering from microfracture surgery on his right ankle, reacquainting himself with right field, a position he has not played since 2007. Young said he feels fine out there and his mobility continues to improve the more he plays.

He also said he is motivated.

“You’ve got to be motivated if you want to play,” he said. “If you aren’t motivated you could have one good season and then take it back to the house and never play again. So if you want to play as long as you can possibly play, have a career sort of like Chipper Jones, you have to be motivated day in and day out. This is not an easy sport. It’s not a sport that’s going to let you have your way with it. You have to work hard. You have to have to have some type of motivation to come out here and play.”

Young signed a one-year, $750,000 contract for a chance to play with the Phillies. He received a $250,000 bonus for being activated Tuesday, and could receive up to $600,000 in bonuses if he simply makes weight on six different occasions this season. That is a lot of money for the average American, but by baseball standards it is a pittance. Young would like a big-time deal, but he can only get that if he earns it.

A big season with the Phillies where he shows he can be a decent outfielder would help.

But Manuel acknowledged he is likely to use a defensive replacement for Young late in games. Manuel did that regularly with Pat Burrell in 2008, having Eric Bruntlett and So Taguchi take his place in left. The Phillies can live with that if Young hits.

They certainly need that. Phillies outfielders entered the night with a combined .602 OPS, which was the second-worst mark in baseball behind the Marlins (.597).

If Young hits like he hit with the Twins in 2010 (.826 OPS) the Phillies will be happy. But he had a .707 OPS with 74 RBIs last season in Detroit. He ranked 20th in baseball with 415 runners on base during his plate appearances in 2012. He had a ton of opportunities to knock in runs, but his runners batted in percentage (13.5 percent) ranked 98th, meaning he did not take advantage of those opportunities.

Young was asked if the arrival of himself and Carlos Ruiz this week could jumpstart the offense.

“If we hit,” Young said with a chuckle. “It doesn’t matter who you bring in. If the team is struggling and we struggle, it doesn’t matter who you bring. You can go get a kid from A-ball and if he’s raking, he’s going to help carry the team. So it just matters who’s playing well.”

The Phillies are betting Young will.

“The thing people don’t understand about Delmon, in my opinion, he’s a baseball player,” assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. “He’s got instincts for the game. He’s a baseball rat. He’s going to find a way to get it done. It might not look like it’s supposed to look but he’ll find a way to get it done. … He’s a very motivated guy. It’s big for him to show people he can still play in the field and swing the bat like he always has. It’s all they’re waiting for. Now he just has to go do it.”

4 Comments

wow, Roy takes another holiday.At current pace. Braves win 105 gms and Frillies 72. We keep waiting for PhallicPain to come trolling back on the Braves Blog, but he seems to have gotten real shy. wonder why? How’s that huge payroll working out for you these days PP?

If no one is there to see the Braves win, did they actually win? Better yet, did they actually play a baseball game?

19,000 Braves “fans” in the house for the NL East first place team against the defending division champs? I laughed. Actually, that must have been the number of tickets sold because there was obviously a lot less than that in the house. I guess they all know what is going to happen in the end.
C’mon zippy, do I get a “Go, Braves!”, however faint it may be?

I guess when you can’t talk about baseball, you can always talk about attendance.

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