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Delmon Young trying to break into Rays' outfield

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Delmon Young trying to break into Rays' outfield

Postby Dannomyte » Wed Feb 22, 2006 11:47 am

ST. PETERSBURG -- Delmon Young arrived at camp on Tuesday with a pleasant disposition and a smile on his face.

Generally regarded as the best offensive player in the Minor Leagues, the 20-year-old expressed displeasure with Rays management at the end of the 2005 season when he wasn't promoted to the Show. Those feelings are in the past.

"It smoothed over once (the new group) took full ownership," Young said.

Which leaves baseball -- and the prospect of breaking into the Rays' crowded outfield -- front and center on Young's radar.

Young's numbers were off the charts in 2005. He began the season at Double-A Montgomery, where he hit .336 with 20 home runs and 71 RBIs in 84 games. He finished at Triple-A Durham, where he batted .285 with six home runs and 28 RBIs in 52 games. Baseball America named him its Minor League Player of the Year.

Young did have to adjust when he made the jump to Triple-A.

"They all throw strikes," said Young, noting he doesn't walk much -- just 33 times at Durham. "There's a little difference of throwing the ball around the plate. You just have to get adjusted to waiting for a better pitch."

Asked if getting more selective is something he needs to improve on, the confident Young replied: "Not really. Vladimir (Guerrero) has a nice career without doing it. It would be something to improve on."

Young smiled when asked if he thought he could play in the Major Leagues now.

"I thought I could play (in the Majors) at 18," Young said. "You've got your doubts. You want to play well. You don't want to go up there and struggle. That's the doubts every player has, even guys who are still in the big leagues."

Will he make the Rays out of Spring Training?

"Anything can happen," Young said. "I don't make decisions around here. We'll just have to wait until April to see how everything works out."

Given Monday's news that Aubrey Huff would like to play third base, the prospect of having an outfield of Carl Crawford in left, Rocco Baldelli in center and Young in right looks almost too good to be true for Rays fans.

Manager Joe Maddon was impressed upon seeing Young in person for the first time Tuesday but said he would not speculate about Young being a member of the team since he has not seen him play.

Young looks more muscular than he did when he reported last year.

"Same offseason workout the last couple of years, (but I) just ate more to get bigger," Young said. "Other years, I had to cut calories to get smaller. This year, I wanted to put on a little bit of weight."

Young stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 221 pounds.

"Anything above 205 is good for me," Young said. "It depends on where I eat. If I go eat (at) McDonald's, I usually gain weight. If I eat healthy and watch what I eat, I could maintain or drop weight -- more muscle mass."

He may have added some weight, but Young said he's still not ready to handle his older brother, Dmitri, who plays for the Tigers.

"He's still got the leverage on me," Young said. "(Dmitri is) not really the load, just thick and country strong."

Young said this spring is a big one for the Young family.

"I have to come out here and try to do my thing," Young said. "Dmitri has to go up there and show the (new) management there what he's all about. And my sister (DeAnn) is having a good start at Oregon State (where she plays right field and first base). She's had a great start, tied for the team lead in home runs."

Could DeAnn be the best hitter in the family? Delmon smiled at the suggestion.

"The fence is 200," he said.

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Postby killa3312 » Wed Feb 22, 2006 1:19 pm

I am fairly confident Young will win the RF job in spring training. He's gained weight in the offseason, but it's good weight (muscle). He is in tremendous physical shape and he is not going to be denied the starters spot, JMHO.
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Postby raiders_umpire » Wed Feb 22, 2006 1:24 pm

I don't think we will see him in the bigs until June or July comes around. I think he will begin the season in AAA and then come up once a trade happens to free up a spot. Of course all this changes if he hits .400 with 11 homers in spring training though. ;-D

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