After a successful extended spring game, Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Delmon Young appears to be inching closer towards a rehab assignment. That, of course, will be the final step before he makes his 2013 Major League Baseball season debut with his new team.
Young underwent ankle surgery in the offseason to remove bone spurs. Unfortunately, it has been a lengthy process to recover from the procedure, which has forced him to miss at least the first month of the regular season.
The 27-year-old was able to suit up in right field for all seven innings of Thursday’s contest. He even went 2-for-6 with a single, a double and a walk against the Pittsburgh Pirates’ extended spring team. The good news is Young looked great on defense, as he was able to move around and catch fly balls. There is not much more one can ask for in the first significant playing time of the year.
“I felt fine, glad to get back out there. It’s extended [spring camp] and everything, but it’s fun,” Young told Phillies.com. “It brings a lot more out of you, even though you’re not using to playing in 1 o’clock games every day outside Spring Training.”
The real test will come Friday when Young will take part in his first back-to-back games since last season. It will be another seven innings, but if he can get through that without any major issues, there is a good chance he will be ready for a rehab stint in the minors within the week.
The 2012 American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player batted .267 with 18 home runs, 74 RBI, 27 doubles and 112 strikeouts in 574 at-bats last season. However, he stepped his game up tremendously in the postseason in which he batted .313 with three homers and nine RBI.
The Phillies are certainly excited for the debut of Young in right field as he should be able to help them improve on their 4-5 record.