Delmon Young has been suspended indefinitely by the International League, pending a review of the events in Wednesday night's Durham-Pawtucket game.
Young, 20, the Devil Rays' top prospect, threw his bat at an umpire, striking him in the chest.
"The Devil Rays' organization supports the decision by International League president Randy Mobley to suspend Delmon Young indefinitely for the incident that took place last night in Pawtucket," said Rays excecutive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman in a release. "We do not tolerate this type of conduct from anyone in the Devil Rays' organization. We will meet with Delmon and his representatives as soon as possible to further address this unfortunate situation. It cannot and will not be repeated."
Young took a called third strike from Pawtucket's Jon Lester in the first inning of the International League contest. After the call, Young glared at the home-plate umpire and did not leave the batter's box; he had taken a couple of steps back toward the dugout when the umpire ejected him from the game. Young then took a couple of more steps before he threw the bat at the umpire.
According to The Associated Press, Young flipped the bat underhand. It sailed end over end and hit the umpire in the chest.
"I sincerely regret my actions in the game yesterday," Young said in a statement released by the office of his agent, Arn Tellem. "Regrettably, in the heat of the competition my emotions got the better of me.
"My behavior was completely unacceptable. I want everyone to know that I recognize that it is never right to throw a bat and I certainly never intended for the bat to make contact with the umpire. Nevertheless, I owe an apology to my team, the fans and most importantly to the umpire, for the incident. I am sorry."
Young is considered by many to be the best prospect in Minor League Baseball; he is ranked No. 1 by MLB.com's prospect list. He was voted as the Rays' Minor League player of the year in 2005, as well as Baseball America's player of the year for 2005. Young, the first overall pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, is the brother of Tigers first baseman/outfielder Dmitri Young.
Wednesday night's incident was not Young's first with an umpire. In May, he was suspended three games for bumping an umpire while playing for Montgomery of the Double-A Southern League, and he nearly was ejected earlier this season after flinging a bat in the air and having it land about 20 feet from a pitcher who had just hit him with a pitch.
Minor League Baseball games have been umpired by replacements for every game thus far in the 2006 season, with the regular crews currently out on strike.
Young was hitting .333 with 12 steals (tied for the IL lead with teammate B.J. Upton) entering the game.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.