NEW YORK — The Rays are still, most would agree, way ahead in the November 2007 trade in which they got SS Jason Bartlett and RHP Matt Garza from Minnesota for OF Delmon Young and INF Brendan Harris.
But at least the Twins have seen hope it might not always look that way.
Among several reasons the Twins were able to go from seven games out in early September to Yankee Stadium for Wednesday's division series opener was Young's contribution down the stretch. Starting Sept. 14, the day he turned 24, Young hit .370 with four home runs and 17 RBIs as the Twins won 16 of 20 games.
"I'm hoping he's just coming into his own as a hitter," Twins general manager Bill Smith said. "What we've seen the last month is what a lot of people hope Delmon Young is going to become on a regular basis."
Overall, Young, who was 0-for-4 Wednesday, hit .284 with 12 homers and 60 RBIs in 108 games. Smith also said it's important to remember how young he is.
"We have guys that are his age in A ball that we're raving about, and he's working on his third year in the big leagues," Smith said. "He's going to go through continuing growing and maturing physically and emotionally as a player, so hopefully he's got a lot more months like this September."
Young, who was limited to part-time duty until Justin Morneau's injury opened an outfield spot as Michael Cuddyer moved to first, said it has simply been a matter of opportunity: "I'm playing."
NOTHING FOR GRANTED: An injured left wrist isn't keeping Red Sox SS Jed Lowrie out of uniform in the playoffs. That's because he knows he can't count on getting here again.
Lowrie is expected to be on the playoff roster despite the injury.
"I've had the opportunity in my first two years (in the majors) to experience the playoffs," Lowrie said. "You hear about guys who play their whole careers and never get to experience this, so I know the opportunity that's presented, and I don't want to miss it."
MISCELLANY: Derek Jeter hit his 18th postseason homer, tying Mickey Mantle and Reggie Jackson for third all time. … The Yankees are 8-0 vs. the Twins this season. … Yankees DH Hideki Matsui hit his 14th homer of the year off a lefty (Francisco Liriano), most of any left-handed hitter. … The Yankees opted for three catchers and a second lefty reliever (Damaso Marte).
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
AL division series
All games on TBS
Angels vs. Red Sox
Today: at Los Angeles, 9:37 p.m.
Scheduled starters: Red Sox — Jon Lester (15-8, 3.41); Angels — John Lackey (11-8, 3.83)
Friday: at Los Angeles, 9:37 p.m.
Sunday: at Boston, time TBD
Monday: at Boston, time TBD*
Oct. 14: at Los Angeles, time TBD*
* If necessary