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Delmon Young's injury presents several scenarios for Phillies


In news that’s not exactly surprising, Delmon Young is already behind schedule as he starts spring training for the Phillies.

While there was a good chance Young would miss the start of the season due to offseason ankle surgery for bone spurs, the timetable for his return is not very clear.
Photo: John Clark- NBC10
Yes, it’s not a stretch to say that the Delmon Young experiment isn’t exactly starting off on the right foot (no pun intended), and there’s lots of possible scenarios that could come from it. Some good, some not so good.

1. Young’s injury allows a healthy (knock wood) Domonic Brown to see significant time this spring- With this current Phillies team in transition, it’s put up or shut up time for Brown. He could become the future, or a thing of the past. Giving an injury-free Brown the chance to prove himself is the only way the Phillies will ever find out what his potential really is. Chances are we’ll probably know sooner than later.

2. Brown falters and Young gets the right field job by default- While Ruben Amaro has gone on record stating that he believes in Brown and his potential, he also emphasized that he wants Young to man right field everyday. Of course, he’s not going to say publicly that they got Young for a bench role, either.  Amaro is aware Young hasn’t played right field since before the Phillies won the 2008 World Series. He’s also aware that he has younger players vying for that position. If the above scenario rings true, Amaro looks like a genius. He’s caught between a rock and a hard place because he’s got an aging team trying to make one last run at a title, but he has to usher in the future at the same time. Now if Ruff, Brown AND Young don’t pan out this year, the Phillies have some serious issues on their hands.

3. Brown and Darin Ruff both earn starting spots if they both play well during the spring- In a perfect scenario, Ruff and Brown have great spring trainings and the rest is history. If Brown plays well enough, Young makes the Phillies’ bench stronger when he returns. A possible platoon would be the pairing of the left-handed hitting Brown and the right-handed hitting Young, but Brown truly needs to play everyday if he’s healthy. If Brown can stay on the field and he performs, Young basically becomes an insurance policy who makes your bench better if he keeps his head on straight. There’s been talk of a platoon with Ruff and Brown in the early going. Neither player can prove their full potential by splitting time. Not a big fan of this.

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4. Brown and Ruff both struggle this spring and the Phillies have to platoon them with John Mayberry and Laynce Nix- When’s the last time a double platoon worked for the Phillies? Probably 1993, with Milt Thompson and Pete Incaviglia in left and Wes Chamberlain and Jim Eisenreich in right. While 1993 was indeed historical, this is one scenario the Phillies don’t want in 2013. It weakens their bench, and just the fact that the team would have to resort to this would indicate Brown and Ruff aren’t performing well enough to play everyday.

5. Young never recovers from his injury and his year is a complete disaster- Although his injury could possibly make him susceptible to weight gain, Young told reporters Friday that he doesn’t check the scale much. That’s not exactly what you want to hear from a player who will be weighed six times by the Phillies’ brass over the course of the 2013 season. This must be the first time in the history of sports that there are this many weigh-ins with no title bout at stake. Moreover, Young gets incentives for every time he makes weight- yet another reason (or at least you would think) he would want to try and stay slim.

I’m trying to remain optimistic that Young turns the corner in Philadelphia and the Phillies got a great bargain for $750,000.

As we’ve demonstrated however, there’s lots of ways this story could end.

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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