Leyland fires back at Dmitri Young

Updated: February 20, 2007, 12:24 PM ET
Associated Press

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Detroit manager Jim Leyland fired back at former Tiger Dmitri Young on Tuesday, saying Young was "totally out of line" for accusing the team of unfairly cutting ties with him last season.

"I'm not looking to have a bone to pick with anybody, but knowing what went on last year, for Dmitri to criticize the organization for lack of support I think is totally out of line," Leyland said.

Young hit .250 with seven home runs in 48 games with the Tigers before being let go in September in what team president Dave Dombrowski reiterated Monday was "strictly a baseball-related decision."

Young said he doesn't buy Dombrowski's explanation, considering all he went through in 2006, including an assault charge, treatment for alcoholism and depression, a divorce and hospitalization for diabetes. He was cut by the Tigers a month before they played in the World Series.

"They were probably saving their own tail, because they thought that the whole court thing there was going to be a distraction for a team that was winning," Young said Monday. "I thought it was a little [unfair] on their part, especially [because of] the time that I spent with the Tigers and represented them in a positive manner. I would have figured they would support me in the same manner, but they didn't."

Leyland said Tuesday that he was responsible for Young's release.

"In my opinion, Dmitri Young was not an asset to our ballclub on the field last year," he said. "And he also needed to take care of some very important issues for the welfare of Dmitri Young.

"The part that upsets me is this guy missed a lot of the season taking care of a problem that he created, not that the Tigers created," Leyland said. "Don't put it on Dave. Don't put it on the organization. Put it on Jim Leyland."

Young is in the Washington Nationals' minor-league camp this spring and has a shot at resuming his career, and Leyland said he wishes him well.

"To this day, I hope Dmitri Young has his life intact, because he's a good guy," Leyland said.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press