PITTSBURGH -- Delmon Young insists he isn’t doing anything differently.
No adjustments. No changes. No alterations.
It’s just that before, he wasn’t getting hits. Now he’s getting hits.
“I feel like I always did,” he said. “Things just aren’t going right to the second baseman, shortstop or centerfielder, so I’m excited for that.”
Young was sputtering along at .220 when the Phillies left town for their 10-game road trip, and the cries for the Phillies to cut ties with the 27-year-old right-fielder grew very loud very quickly.
Then the Phils hit the road, and all Young did over these last 10 games was go 17 for 35 (.486), boosting his average 53 points to .273.
After recording six multi-hit games in his first 45 games, Young recorded five multi-hit games on the road trip, including two in the Phils’ 6-4 win over the Pirates Thursday at PNC Park (see recap).
On Wednesday, Young recorded his 1,000th career hit, making him one of 19 active players with that many hits before his 28th birthday.
Manager Charlie Manuel said it was just a matter of time before Young began hitting after he missed the first month of the season while in extended spring training to rehab his ankle following offseason surgery.
“He's just getting his timing down, he's getting to play,” Manuel said. “He's getting sharper. He feels more relaxed. He feels at home on our team.
“I like Delmon Young. I like his make up. I can really kid with him. I can get on him. I want him to hit.”
It’s just about impossible to get Young to talk seriously about his hot streak.
Asked what’s been different for him over the past week and a half, he said only: “I think I’m more tired because I’m on the bases more instead of resting up in the dugout.”
Then, asked if his approach at the plate has changed at all, he said this: “I would have been batting 1.000 except for the strikeouts if there were no fielders out there.”
Oh. That clears everything up.
In any case, Manuel is encouraged by what he’s seen. Just like Ben Revere, Young’s one-time teammate with the Twins, Young is in a new league, facing new pitchers, getting used to new stadiums.
Maybe it’s no coincidence Revere has also picked up his offense after a slow start. He’s now at .291 after hitting .243 on June 8.
As for Young’s ankle, he won’t say much about it or whether it’s still bothering him. Young had surgery in November to remove bone spurs and clean out damaged cartilage.
“I was healthy at 18 and I struggled for a couple of months hitting the ball,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how you feel. If your name is in the lineup, you are healthy enough to play and there’s no excuses.”
Manuel said it actually looks like Young is moving around better on the bases than when he first returned from Clearwater.
“For a guy that's got a bad ankle he moves OK,” he said. “He takes short choppy steps sometimes, looks like he's not going anywhere, but he still moves.”
Young signed a one-year, $750,000 contract with the Phils, and these next few months will determine whether the Phillies decide to try and keep him or let him go.
Were these last 10 games a fluke or a sign that Young has actually found his stroke? We will see.
“I think he likes being on our team,” Manuel said. “He likes our guys. I think that he wants to play for us. He hasn't said that. I just get that feeling. My intuition is usually pretty good.”