Phillies hope Delmon Young fills RF spot

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Phillies hope Delmon Young fills RF spot

An outfield competition will still take place in Clearwater, but the Phillies hope they have solved at least one of their question marks on the corners.

The Phils on Tuesday signed outfielder Delmon Young to a one-year, $750,000 performance-bonus laden contract with the expectation of him earning the job as their starting right fielder. Its a low-risk, potentially high-reward acquisition for the Phillies, who had been searching for another proven outfielder to add to the mix.

Now, if Young can prove his defense in right field is up to par, Domonic Brown, Darin Ruf, John Mayberry Jr. and Laynce Nix will compete for playing time on the opposite side of Ben Revere.

"I view this is an addition of depth in our outfield, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. While obviously Delmons got a lot more track record as far as success in the major leagues, he still can be competing for playing time. Ideally, hed be playing right field every day for us but thats not etched in stone. That will happen when he shows that he can play every day in right field for us."

Young, a career .284 hitter, played left field in just 30 his 151 games last season for the American League-champion Detroit Tigers. The 27-year-old has not played his natural position of right field since 2007, his first full major league season, when he appeared in 130 games there for Tampa Bay. The former first-overall pick switched to left when he was traded to the Twins in November 2007, as Denard Span was occupying the right side in Minnesota.

Young does come without his fair share of baggage. He was suspended 50 games in 2006 as a minor leaguer for flinging his bat at an umpire. And then, in April of last year, he was accused of shouting an anti-Semitic slur outside a New York hotel, an incident that led to him pleading guilty of aggravated harassment and a seven-game suspension from MLB. He recently completed his allotted hours of community service, helping to clean a New York City park.

"It was an unfortunate incident," Young said. "I put myself in a bad situation, but it was a one-time thing. Its not like it was a daily thing. I've learned a lot from it and how to rebound from it. I have a great support system, from family and friends to teammates in Detroit. Id like to thank them because they kept my spirits up and told me I could get through."

Young's past was something Amaro said and the Phillies did their homework on. In addition to meeting with Young, the GM spoke with the anti-defamation league in Philadelphia and rabbi acquaintances.

"The off-field stuff is something that we did think about," Amaro said. "[We] did a lot of due diligence on what kind of person he is. I think more than anything else the conclusion that we came up with was that he made a mistake and whatever was written about him in the past I think doesn't really depict the kind of person he is. Obviously we want to have good character guys in our clubhouse, and I think hes going to be one."

Amaro said there's a chance Young could start the season on the disabled list, as the outfielder underwent microfracture surgery on his right ankle on Nov. 10, just after the World Series. Young, who has already lost 20 pounds on a healthier diet, continues to work through a four-to-six month rehab process in preparation for spring training.

He admitted there will likely be a learning curve moving back to right field but added that with Minnesota he often found himself looking across the field and is looking forward to the opportunity. Hes also familiar with Revere, a teammate from the Twins.

"As a younger player [Young] was at least an average, probably a plus-defender in right field as he was coming through the minor leagues in the Tampa organization," Amaro said. "Always had a good arm. Its backed off a little bit since hes been doing more DHing. And there is some risk here, there's no question about it. But we think it's one of those situations where it's kind of a low risk, high reward because the guy can hit."

Young understands the position he's in, signing with just three weeks until spring training for much less money than the $6.75 million he made last season.

"I've done some things where theres a reason for it," he said. "If I went out there and was an All-Star six years in a row and was healthy and a model citizen, then yeah. But this is where I'm looking to make a change. Ive had a full offseason to reflect on life and have good people around me."

Phillies held to 3 hits again, pounded by Rockies in return home

Phillies held to 3 hits again, pounded by Rockies in return home

BOX SCORE

The loudest noise made by the Phillies' offense on Monday night was the thud — clearly audible above the small crowd — that Odubel Herrera created when he smashed his batting helmet on the dirt infield after grounding out to third base to end the seventh inning.

Herrera's frustration spoke for an entire team. The Phillies were hammered, 8-1, by the Colorado Rockies (see Instant Replay). They were out-hit, 13-3. The loss was the Phils' 18th in the last 22 games and they have been outscored 126-89 over that span.

The loss left the Phils at 15-27 for the season, matching their worst 42-game start since 2000 when they finished 65-97 in front of tiny crowds at Veterans Stadium in Terry Francona's last season as skipper.

Over the last two games, both losses, the Phils have just six hits.

"Three hits today, three hits yesterday," manager Pete Mackanin said. "You're not going to win a lot of games getting three hits."

Aaron Altherr had two of the Phillies' hits, both doubles against Colorado rookie Jeff Hoffman, who was very impressive with seven walk-free innings and seven strikeouts.

Herrera went hitless in three at-bats and is hitting just .200 in the month of May and .232 overall — not what the front office expected when it signed him to a five-year, $30.5 million contract extension in the offseason.

"It's very frustrating because I feel like I am being selective and waiting for my pitch, but when I make contact things don't happen," Herrera said. "I feel like I'm swinging the bat well, but I'm just missing."

Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff gave up nine hits, seven of which were singles, and four runs over six innings. Four of the hits that Eickhoff allowed came in the third inning when the Rockies scored three times. Two of the runs scored on a flare double and the other on a groundball through a drawn-in infield.

"I executed a lot of good pitches," Eickhoff said. "I got a lot of the contact I wanted. The ball just didn't land in the gloves."

Eickhoff did not walk a batter. He struck out four.

Despite being 0-5 with a 4.70 ERA in nine starts, the right-hander believes he has made strides his last two outings. He gave up three runs (two earned) over six innings in his previous outing at Texas. Prior to that start, he worked on fixing a mechanical flaw in his delivery.

"These past two have been night-and-day different," he said. "I felt great today and in Texas and I'm going to keep that positivity going."

Finding other things to be positive about with this team is becoming difficult.

This Phillies team was not expected to contend; it is still in a rebuild. But things weren't supposed to be this bad, either.

"I'll tell you what, I'm getting frustrated, too," general manager Matt Klentak said before the game. "This team is better … there is more talent on this team than we've shown in terms of our record.

"We'll pull out of it. We will. That's what talented players will do. I'm not going to tell the fans they shouldn't be frustrated. We've gone through a tough stretch.

"But I'm not ready to call it regression. I think there's been a lack of consistency on our team in general, with some players more than others. There's been a lack of consistency, but especially for young players, two months is a relatively small sample size to categorize it as regression."

At 29-17, the Rockies have the best record in the National League. They have 16 road wins, which is one more than the Phillies have overall. The Rockies are in town for three more days. This ugly start could get even uglier.

Best of MLB: Twins pound out 21 hits, storm back to beat Orioles

Best of MLB: Twins pound out 21 hits, storm back to beat Orioles

BALTIMORE -- Max Kepler homered and drove in four runs, Miguel Sano and Jorge Polanco each had a career-high four hits and the Minnesota Twins roared back to beat the Baltimore Orioles 14-7 Monday night.

Minnesota trailed 5-0 in the second inning and 6-2 entering the fifth before cranking up the offense against Ubaldo Jimenez and an ineffective Baltimore bullpen.

A two-run double by Kepler helped the Twins knot the score in the fifth, Minnesota sent 11 batters to the plate in a six-run sixth and Sano added a two-run homer in the ninth.

Joe Mauer had three hits, two RBIs and scored twice for the Twins, who reached season highs in runs and hits (21).

Adam Jones hit a three-run drive in the second inning off Kyle Gibson (1-4) for Baltimore (see full recap).

Peacock, Astros 1-hit Tigers
HOUSTON -- Brad Peacock and three relievers combined for a one-hitter and Jose Altuve provided the offense with an RBI double to lead the Houston Astros to 1-0 win over the Detroit Tigers on Monday night.

Peacock was solid moving out of the bullpen to make a spot start for injured ace Dallas Keuchel. In his first start since September, Peacock allowed the lone hit and struck out eight in 4 1/3 innings. He was lifted after walking Tyler Collins with one out in the fifth inning.

Chris Devenski (3-2) took over and pitched 2 2/3 innings for the win before Will Harris pitched a scoreless eighth. Ken Giles struck out two in the ninth for his 12th save to allow the Astros to bounce back after being swept by the Indians over the weekend.

Detroit's only hit was a single by Mikie Mahtook with one out in the third on a night the Tigers tied a season high by striking out 14 times. The team's only baserunner after Collins was Victor Martinez, who was plunked with one out in the seventh. But Houston still faced the minimum in that inning when J.D. Martinez grounded into a double play to end the seventh.

The Astros struck early against Michael Fulmer (5-2) when George Springer drew a leadoff walk before scoring on the double by Altuve to make it 1-0 with one out in the first (see full recap).

Homers help Yankees top Royals
NEW YORK -- Didi Gregorius, Brett Gardner and Chris Carter homered, and the New York Yankees once again downed Jason Vargas by beating the Kansas City Royals 4-2 Monday night.

A reversed umpire's call in the seventh inning kept the Yankees ahead and enabled Michael Pineda (5-2) to top Vargas for the second time in a week. The Royals, with the worst record in the AL, have lost five of seven.

Vargas (5-3) began the day with a 2.03 ERA, tied for second-best in the majors. But the lefty fell to 0-7 lifetime against the Yankees when he was tagged by Gardner and Gregorius, the only left-handed hitters in the New York lineup (see full recap).