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For hitting ump, Young out for 50 games

Devil Rays top prospect Delmon Young today was suspended 50 games by the International League for throwing his bat at an umpire after being called out on strikes.

Young, 20, was suspended indefinitely the day after the April 26 incident and already has missed 11 games. With the additional sanction, he will be eligible to return June 19.

The Devil Rays have said they will support the International League's decision. Team officials also have discussed the possibility of having Young perform community service and attend counseling for anger issues.

Young's actions, captured on video that has been disseminated nationwide, have made him a hot topic among commentators.

Playing for Triple-A Durham in a game at Pawtucket, R.I., Young was called out on strikes by home plate umpire Ron Cacciatore, a replacement for the striking minor-league umpires.

Young lingered in the batter's box for about 12 seconds, making several comments to the umpire. Cacciatore ejected him from the game. Young then is seen walking toward the dugout and out of the video. Seconds later, the bat enters the frame, flying end-over-end toward the umpire and striking him in the torso.

Young's behavior has been an issue before; he was suspended three games in 2005 for bumping an umpire after being called out on strikes.

Last season, when he played with Double-A Montgomery, Young also reportedly flung his bat "high in the air'' and "about two-thirds the way'' toward Birmingham pitcher Dwayne Pollack after being hit by a pitch.

Young, Baseball America's minor-league player of the year in 2005, also has sported a clubhouse attitude noted by veterans such as Carl Crawford and publicly criticized the organization after he was not promoted to the major-league team last season.

After the latest incident, Young issued a statement through agent Arn Tellem, saying he regretted his actions.

"In the heat of the competition my emotions got the better of me,'' Young said. "My behavior was completely unacceptable. I want everyone to know that I recognize that it is never right to throw a bat, and I certainly never intended for the bat to make contact with the umpire. Nevertheless, I owe an apology to my team, the fans and most importantly to the umpire, for the incident. I am sorry.''

In spring training, Carl Crawford said he talked to Young about his attitude.

"I just want him to stay level-headed a little bit,'' Crawford said. "You know what I'm saying, around (the media) and around the clubhouse, too, with guys that have been around, kind of have respect for the players that have been here. We understand he grew up in the clubhouse (as the younger brother of veteran major-leaguer Dmitri), but we just hope he stays on that level to where other guys don't think he's getting ahead of himself.''
-- Marc Topkin

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:30am]


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