Rays prospect Young suspended for toss

Updated: April 28, 2006, 11:26 AM ET
ESPN.com news service

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Top Tampa Bay prospect Delmon Young was suspended indefinitely by the International League on Thursday, a day after throwing a bat that hit a replacement umpire in the arm.

"The Devil Rays organization supports the decision," said Andrew Friedman, Tampa Bay's team's executive vice president of baseball operations.

The 20-year-old Young, brother of Detroit star Dmitri Young and considered one of the best players in the minors, was ejected in the first inning following a called third strike in the Durham Bulls' Triple-A game at Pawtucket, R.I.

When Young took his time leaving the batter's box, the umpire tossed him. Young then flipped his bat underhand and it sailed end over end, striking the umpire. The umpire, whose name was not released, did not appear injured and remained in the game.

"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."

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."

After the game, Durham manager John Tamargo said he hadn't spoke to Young and hadn't "gotten his side of it."

"We've had some problems with different umpires and it's tough. But I can't say any more," he said.

Young left during the game and wasn't available for comment. The outfielder was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 amateur draft and picked as the 2005 minor league player of the year by Baseball America.

"We do not tolerate this type of conduct from anyone in the Devil Rays organization," Friedman said. "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."

Pawtucket catcher Corky Miller said he didn't hear Young say anything to the umpire. "I heard the umpire say, 'You better get going,' " Miller said.

"It was hard to say what was going through his mind. Guys have emotions," Miller added. "But you try to learn how to control them. I'm sure as the bat left his hands he knew it was a bad decision."

Devil Rays utilityman Greg Norton, who was at the game, talked about what happened after he was brought up Thursday and arrived at Yankee Stadium.

"It wasn't violent, and I don't feel it was meant to hit him," he said.

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 Associated Press contributed to this report.