Delmon Young's journey to become the Phillies' starting right fielder took another step Sunday when he donned a Clearwater Threshers uniform. His official minor-league rehab assignment started, and if the initial results are any indication, improvement is required.
The first Lakeland Flying Tigers batter hit a fly ball at Young and it landed for a triple. Young should have limited the hitter to a single had he taken a better route, said two officials who attended the game in Lakeland, Fla. Later, in the seventh inning, Young committed a fielding error that allowed a runner to take an extra base.
He batted cleanup in single-A Clearwater's lineup and went 1 for 4 with a sacrifice fly and single. While the Phillies are evaluating Young's bat, they are primarily concerned with his defense.
"Obviously we want his bat, but if he can't play defense he can’t play in the National League," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "He's going to have to be adequate out there. Until today he hadn't screwed up any balls, but today he did. ... He's got to play adequate defense out there for us in right."