Young regrets bat-tossing incident

Young suspended 50 games for bat toss

ST. PETERSBURG -- Delmon Young took his medicine Tuesday in the form of a 50-game suspension and, perhaps most important, he showed contrition.

In addition to the 50-game suspension, Young has agreed to perform a minimum of 50 hours of community service while under suspension, which will be divided between the Durham Bulls Youth Athletic League and the Miracle League of Gulf Beaches.

International League president Randy Mobley handed down the suspension after reviewing the April 26 incident that saw Young throw his bat after striking out, with the bat striking the home-plate umpire. The 50-game suspension without pay is retroactive to April 27, which means Young can play again on June 19.

"I'd like to say I'm sorry for this incident ever happening," said Young to a gathering of reporters at the Devil Rays' Minor League complex. "It should have never come to this. I'd like to just get on with this and to let everyone know that I do regret the situation and I'll try to get through it and I'm going to get through it. Today is just a new day and I'm going to get started today."

When Young was asked his opinion regarding whether the punishment fit the crime, he seemed to want to move on.

Mobley "did his job, and that was his job to make a suspension," Young said. "You just have to let him do his job, you know. Fifty is a fair amount and I'm going to serve it and then I'll be back on the ball field."

Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said the club fully support the International League with the suspension that was levied.

"We think that's one important part of this, but that also the community service aspect is important in this," Friedman said. "It's something that he's really welcomed. I think it's going to be important for him to get the most out of this and to really turn this into a positive.

"As I've said, we wish this incident wouldn't have happened, but it has. Now it's about turning it into a positive, and I think he's fully committed to taking the necessary steps to turn this into a positive."

Friedman said he did not believe Young has anger management issues.

"I think one of the things that works for him and one of the things that works against him is his competitiveness," Friedman said. "I don't think he knows how to draw that line like some others do. And it's something he has to learn how to channel in the right way and get the most out of it, because it can be a positive. Right now it's both a positive and a negative. And he needs to learn how to handle success and failure in the right way."

The April 26 incident was not Young's first with an umpire. In May of 2005, Young 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 which landed about 20 feet from the pitcher who had just hit him with a pitch. Given Young's history with umpires, Friedman said it would likely lead to some lingering effects with the men in blue.

"And it's going to be something that he's going to have to battle," Friedman said. "And you hope with him treating them with the requisite respect, it slowly goes away over time. It's hard to say how long it will last. But it will definitely be there in the near term."

Young said he was "concerned about [the incident following him around] just a little bit."

"But you know, I'm just out here to play baseball and everything," Young said. "I'm just going to hope everything dies down with my development."

Young has tried to get in touch with the umpire he struck, but has not yet been able to do so.

The Rays expect Young to continue his training later this week at the organization's Minor League complex in St. Petersburg. Further, the Rays organization issued a statement that declared it will continue to provide all the necessary support and assistance to Young during his suspension.

When asked what he hopes to gain from serving his suspension, Young replied: "Just to let other people know that you can't get away with stuff like this, in professional sports or life in general. Teach young kids to play the game the right way. Respect the game."

Young is considered by many to be the best prospect in Minor League baseball. He is ranked No. 1 by'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 is the brother of Tigers first baseman/outfielder Dmitri Young, and he was the first overall pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft. Young was hitting .333 with 12 steals.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.