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Sour end to Delmon's year
The rookie, chewed out for lack of hustle, says he'll refuse to play the season finale.
By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer
Published September 30, 2007
Delmon Young says he feels singled out after being admonished.
[Dirk Shadd | Times (2006)]
TORONTO - At least three times this season, manager Joe Maddon privately admonished rookie rightfielder Delmon Young for violating one of his most important tenants: to run hard to first base.
Saturday, Maddon made it very public, pulling Young from the game after he didn't hustle during a sixth-inning groundout then saying Young showed a "blatant disrespect" for the game and the team.
Young responded by saying, profanely, he was being unfairly singled out and would refuse to play - or even show up for - today's season finale, telling reporters as he left the clubhouse: "I'll see you guys next year."
Maddon had warned Young, 21, that he was out of chances and had readdressed the importance of running hard during a season-ending team meeting before Saturday's game.
But when Young didn't hustle on a routine grounder to third base in the sixth, Maddon took action, the extreme one of pulling one of his best players in the middle of a tie game.
"That was a blatant disrespect for the game and what we're about. I've had several conversations regarding that, and that was it," Maddon said.
"I didn't want to do it, I don't like doing that, but it's to the point where you're made to do it. And the word for me is disappointing."
Young said he was treated unfairly because others have been doing the same thing. An inning earlier, B.J. Upton didn't run when he hit a line drive that was dropped by shortstop Ray Olmedo, but Maddon said that was a different situation.
"S---, everybody else is m-----f------ doing it," Young said. "S---, I'm the only one who m-----f------ gets in trouble for the s---. ... I play every day. I don't complain about going out there. So, I'll see you guys next year. I'm shut down for (today)."
Maddon, who had been campaigning openly for Young to win the AL Rookie of the Year Award, said he was disappointed more than anything in Young, who grew up around the game with an older brother, Dmitri, in the majors.
"I'm not angry, I'm not upset, I'm disappointed," Maddon said. "That is my major rule among position players, just to run hard to first base.
"I believe this: when you run hard to first base every time you put the ball in play, that permeates your entire game. That makes you a better player. For us, for the Rays, we're going to run hard to first."
Young showed arrogance and a petulant attitude at times after being drafted by the Rays first overall in 2003, and was involved in a highly publicized incident last season when he tossed his bat at an umpire while with Triple-A Durham, but had a relatively controversy-free first full major-league season.
Maddon said he was "debating" whether to play Young - who was on track to be the first rookie since 2003 to appear in all 162 games - in today's finale. Young made the decision for him, stopping at his office door to say he would not be playing. Young finishes with a .289 average, 13 homers and 93 RBIs.