Slow progress for Delmon Young

Phillies outfielder Delmon Young. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

LAKELAND, Fla. — The spring games have begun, but Delmon Young has yet to take a real batting practice swing.

Young has started hitting side tosses, or flips, in the batting cage, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Sunday. Young's hitting has mostly been limited to tee work while he recovers from November microfracture surgery on his right ankle. He has played long toss. He has not run.

The 27-year-old outfielder is scheduled to visit a doctor in a week, Amaro said, with hopes of being cleared for more activity.

"I have no reason to rush the guy," Amaro said, "or pressure him into being back before he is ready."

Young is a near-certainty to begin 2013 on the disabled list. Eventually, he will attempt to play right field, a position he has not manned since 2007.

Jim Leyland, Young's former manager in Detroit, endorsed the idea of him returning to the field. Last season, Leyland started Young in the outfield just 29 times.

"I think as long as he's healthy he'll be fine," Leyland said. "If he has the ankle issues over, he'll be fine. [Phillies people] told me he really looks good.

"But I will tell you, this guy is a professional hitter. He was huge for us the last couple postseasons. He's smart. He knows hitting and he knows the game. He's a smart guy. He doesn't say a whole lot, but he's very bright."

The Phillies signed Young to a $750,000 deal in January. If he spends one day on the active roster, he will receive a $250,000 bonus.

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