Delmon Young motivated to produce at high level again

Delmon Young motivated to produce at high level again
April 30, 2013, 6:15 pm
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CLEVELAND -- It’s been a while since Delmon Young was a special player. Not since 2010, when he had 112 RBIs, hit .298 and finished 10th in the AL MVP voting.
 
Young’s 2013 season and his Phillies career will begin Tuesday night, and the goal is to be that kind of player again.
 
“He's a very motivated guy,” Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said Tuesday night before the Phils opened a two-game series against the Indians at Progressive Field. “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.”
 
Young spent the first few weeks of the season in extended spring training in Clearwater rehabbing after offseason ankle surgery.
 
He was activated Tuesday morning and is batting fifth and DH’ing in manager Charlie Manuel’s lineup, with Domonic Brown sixth.

“Long process, but it was well worth it,” Young said in the Phils’ dugout. “I got all the work in, got a full month in that I didn’t get in when those guys were down there for spring training. I basically got mine in the whole month of April.
 
“It gets better every couple days. Just being on my feet and playing more often. It’s been feeling a lot better.”
 
Young is a career .284 hitter and has averaged 152 hits, 79 RBIs, 29 doubles and 14 homers per year over the past six seasons.
 
The Phillies, 20th in the majors in runs scored and 21st in OPS, could sure use a live bat. Their outfield through 26 games is hitting just .226 with seven homers and 27 RBIs.
 
“It's not just a matter of us thinking he's ready but him thinking he's ready,” Proefrock said. “That was the feedback we got from the people who saw him play. And Ruben [Amaro, GM] spoke to Delmon directly and asked him if he was ready. He said, 'Yes.' That's what happened.”
 
Young has been able to hit for a couple weeks now, but the Phillies didn’t want to bring him up until he was able to handle right field.
 
Young played only 31 games in the outfield last year, when he was mainly a designated hitter for the Tigers, so he hasn’t been a full-time outfielder since 2011.
 
Manuel was sent video of Young playing defense in extended spring training, and he said he was fine.
 
“He looked OK,” Manuel said. “He moved pretty good, really. He went back in the gaps pretty good.”
 
Young said every level of his rehab brought a new challenge defensively.
 
It may take a while until he’s completely comfortable on this level. Especially after DH’ing last year.
 
“I just have to get used to each level,” he said. “In extended, there’s nothing behind [home plate]. In high A, it was the spring training fields. In Triple A there was a second deck. So it was a little different shagging today with the third deck.
 
“These baseballs have a little more juice in them than the minor league ball and the players hit the ball with more juice, so it’s getting used to better competition and better hitters and the ball having a little more carry on it.”
 
Young was almost exclusively a leftfielder with the Tigers and the Twins. The last time he was a regular rightfielder was 2007 with the Devil Rays.
 
Proefrock said he thinks Young will be fine in right field, where Manuel said he’ll probably start on Wednesday night.
 
“He's going to catch what he gets to,” Proefrock said. “The thing people don't understand about Delmon, in my opinion, he's a baseball player. He's got instincts for the game. He's a baseball rat. He's going to find a way to get it done.
 
“It may not look graceful. But he's always had a bit of a different gait anyway. He'll find a way to get it done.”
 
Young, 27, is with his third team in four years. He spent two years with the Devil Rays, 3½ with the Twins and the last 1 ½ in Detroit, where he hit just .268 after hitting .289 with Tampa and Minnesota.
 
His numbers have declined since his big 2010 season, but he said he’s motivated to get back to that point.
 
“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 you want to play as long as you could 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.”

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