Young suspended 50 games for bat toss

Updated: May 9, 2006, 9:27 PM ET
ESPN.com news service

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Top Tampa Bay prospect Delmon Young was suspended 50 games without pay by the International League on Tuesday, two weeks after throwing a bat that hit a replacement umpire in the arm.

Buster Olney's take
[Delmon] Young is young and made a mistake, but nobody has ever seen a mistake like his, from anyone old or young.

To read more of Buster Olney's, analysis click here.

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SportsNation: Is Young's punishment appropriate?

Randy Mobley, president of the International League, said that the suspension, retroactive to April 27, is the longest known penalty in the 123-year history of the International League, according to the information uncovered during the investigation. The reprimand also includes a minimum of 50 hours of community service. Young earns $500,000, making the suspension cost him approximately $145,000 in salary. Mobley said he looked at precedents established in baseball, and in other sports.

Immediately after Young threw the bat, he retreated to the clubhouse and phoned Devil Rays general manager Andrew Friedman to tell him what happened, and Mobley told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney that Young's cooperation with his investigation "could not have been better.... He knew right from the start that he had messed up big-time, and his attitude continued to be that all along." Young was very interested in including the community service aspect of his penalty all along, Mobley said.

"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 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."

Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon, who had Young in spring training until the Devil Rays sent him back to Triple-A on March 16, said the suspension "has severity attached to it."

"Whenever something is taken away that you love, it's not fun," said Maddon, who spent 19 years as a coach, scout and manager in the Angels' minor-league system. "There are a lot more positives beyond baseball that can come out of this for him, which is more important."

In his investigation, Mobley said he could not determine, with absolute certainty, that Young had intended to hit the umpire when he threw the bat.

"If I had, I would have suspended him for the entire season," Mobley told Olney. "He explained to me that it was his intent to throw his bat and throw his helmet back toward to the plate to show his disgust with the call, as we've seen in other situations, and there was a miscalculation.

"My goal was to arrive at something fair and just, and I feel comfortable that we've done that."

Young expects to resume working out at the minor-league complex 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."

Young, 20, 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., on April 26.

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 in April 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."

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.

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."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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