D-Ray prospect suspended for 50 games

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – Tampa Bay prospect Delmon Young was suspended for 50 games without pay by the International League on Tuesday for throwing a bat that hit a replacement umpire in the chest.

IL president Randy Mobley said he believed the suspension was the longest in the league’s 123-year history. There was no record of the most severe suspension in the minors for an on-field incident.

Young was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 draft and was chosen the 2005 minor league player of the year by Baseball America. His brother is Detroit Tigers star Dmitri Young.

“Fifty is a fair amount, and I’m going to serve it and then I’ll be back on the ballfield,” Young said at the Devil Rays’ minor league complex.

“No, I really don’t think I have anger management issues,” he said. “I’m competitive. I just let the emotions get a little better than me sometimes. I’ve got to control that.”

The suspension is retroactive to April 27, the day after Young tossed his bat in a Triple-A game while playing for Durham. The 20-year-old outfielder has agreed to perform at least 50 hours of community service, and can play again June 19.

The Devil Rays supported Mobley’s decision on the penalty, said Andrew Friedman, Tampa Bay’s team’s executive vice president of baseball operations.

“What happened has no place in this game, and it can’t ever happen again,” he said. “I think he grasped the magnitude of the situation. I think he’s committed to getting the most out of this.”

Young expects to resume working out at the minor league complex on Wednesday. The Devil Rays might check whether he can play in extended spring training games before returning to an active roster.

“I’d like to say I’m sorry for this incident. I do regret this situation. I’m going to get through it,” Young said. “Today is just a new day, I’m going to get started today.”

In Double-A ball last year, Young was suspended for three games by the Southern League for bumping the chest of plate umpire Jeff Latter.

The IL issued an indefinite suspension following the bat-throwing in Pawtucket, R.I. The umpire, filling in for striking minor league umps, was not injured.

“The goal in reviewing this very serious matter was to arrive at a fair and just action against Mr. Young,” Mobley said. With the suspension “and the significant fine as a result of the loss of salary, I believe this has been accomplished.”

“Delmon was in agreement that community service would be part of the final action taken by the League,” he said. “My hope is that this unfortunate incident can have a positive and life changing impact on Delmon’s personal and professional life.”

Young was ejected in the first inning after taking a called third strike.

He lingered in the batter’s box, walked away and then threw his bat end over end at the umpire, hitting him in the chest.

Young said he was going to try to contact the umpire.

Regular minor league umpires are on strike this season. Fill-ins umps – most of them with college or high school experience – have been working in their place. Minor league teams are not releasing the names of the replacements.

“It’s an unfortunate incident and there should be no place for actions like that in the game of baseball,” the umpire said in a statement released by Pawtucket. “Any official should not be treated like that. He embarrassed himself and his teammates.”

AP-ES-05-09-06 1804EDT

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