Phillies outfielder Delmon Young expands activity, still expected to miss time
CLEARWATER, Fla. — Delmon Young heard what he wanted from a Los Angeles doctor Tuesday, hopped a red-eye flight to Florida, and took batting practice with his new Phillies teammates for the first time Wednesday morning.
Young, who will miss the start of the season because of winter surgery on his right ankle, was cleared to begin running and hitting. He is still limited in his lateral movements; shagging fly balls is not yet allowed.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. termed Young's recovery "faster" than the team expected upon signing him. Amaro expects Young to return sometime in mid-to-late April.
"We'll take the progressions slowly and conservatively to the point where he's ready and we feel he's comfortable enough in the outfield to play, then he'll be in Philadelphia," Amaro said. "We're not going to rush him."
Amaro reiterated Young will play only right field, saying that is the position at which Young grades best despite it typically being a harder spot than left field. Amaro cited Young's defensive ability in right when he came through the Tampa Bay system, although that was some seven years ago.
Young has not played an inning in right field since 2007.
When asked if two or three weeks of game action was enough to convince the Phillies that Young can handle the position, Amaro slightly hedged.
"We'll see," Amaro said. "A lot of it will depend on how he's reacting and playing. I'm just hopeful at some point early or middle of April he is playing in games enough so we can start to evaluate and work on that part of his game. We have to make sure the guy is able to play well defensively for us to have him in our outfield."
Young will probably start running on turf next week. He may progress in his lateral movements next week, too. For now, most of his movement will come on a treadmill.
The Phillies have been pleased with Young's conditioning and work ethic. Amaro said Monday that Young weighs 227 or 228 pounds, which is down from the 238 he weighed upon his signing in January.
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