Delmon Young is set to play in back-to-back games in the outfield later this week, marking the first time in his rehab from right ankle surgery that he'll take the field on consecutive days.
He could be closing in on doing the same thing for the Phillies before long, too.
Prior to Tuesday's game at Citizens Bank Park, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Young could begin an official rehab assignment in less than a week as long as he gets medical clearance. The 27-year-old Young, who won ALCS MVP honors last fall, had surgery on his right ankle in November.
He started the 2013 season on the disabled list and has been taking regular at-bats while also getting some work in the outfield at extended spring training in Clearwater, Fla., since the Phils came north last month.
And after he gets medical clearance...
"Then it’s a matter of whether not he can play well in right field and whether he is moving well enough on the bases to be able to come here," Amaro said. "He will have had a lot of at-bats by then, because he’s getting 5 or 6 per game."
Young was used primarily as a DH in 2012 and hasn't played right field since 2007.
"I have all the films on him. He hasn’t had a lot of challenging plays, he’s had a couple of fly balls he’s made plays on, but nothing really challenging," Amaro said. "But he looks OK so far. He’s moving around a little bit better everyday, with a little less of a gimp every day, which is good. ... I think his ankle feels good. He just has to continue to keep playing."
Young began taking regular at-bats 2 1/2 weeks ago and eventually worked running the bases into his regiment along with playing the field. So how has he looked running the bases?
"He hasn’t had to run the bases a lot because he hasn’t been getting on all that much," Amaro said.
Even if he is slumping in extended spring training, it would be difficult for Young's bat not to be an upgrade over what the Phils currently have in right field. Entering Tuesday, Phils right fielders have hit .136 (3-for-22) with a .478 OPS; both rank in the bottom five in baseball among right fielders.
Phils right fielders have one extra-base hit (a double) and no RBIs.