Rays’ Young Suspended Indefinitely

See also: Chris Kline says Young’s biggest hurdle to overcome to get the majors is his maturity
See also: Young suspended in 2005 for run-in with umpire

Devil Rays farmhand Delmon Young, the 2005 Minor League Player of the Year and top prospect in the minor leagues, has been suspended indefinitely for flipping his bat into the chest of a home-plate umpire in a Triple-A International League game last night.

The incident occurred in the first inning as Young’s Durham club played the host Pawtucket Red Sox. With two runners on and none out, Young  struck out looking on a 1-2 pitch and argued the call with the umpire. Young walked away, still jawing with the umpire, and finally was ejected from the game.

The ejection prompted Young to flip his bat toward the umpire. One observer who spoke on condition of anonymity said that while Young didn’t flip the bat hard, he clearly intended it to hit the umpire.

“I heard the umpire say, ‘You better get going,’ ” Pawsox catcher Corky Miller, a big league veteran, told the Providence (R.I.) Journal. “I turned around and saw he was still in the box. I didn’t hear him say anything. I think he took a little too much time.”

The game was not televised, though it was being shown in the McCoy
Stadium televisions by the Pawsox. The team sent its video of the
incident to the International League office Thursday morning. The video
shows Young arguing with the umpire, then walking away from the batters
box as the umpire ejects him from the game. Afterwards, with Young out
of camera view, the bat comes flying back into view, stirking the
umpire in the chest with some force.

International League president Randy Mobley suspended Young indefinitely, pending his investigation into the incident, and Devil Rays general manager Andrew Friedman issued a statement in support of Mobley’s decision.

“The Devil Rays organization supports the decision by Randy Mobley to suspend Delmon Young,” the statement said. “We do not tolerate this type of conduct from anyone in the Devil Rays organization. We will meet with Delmon and his representatives as soon as possible to further address this unfortunate situation. It cannot and will not be repeated.”

Young later released an apology through his agent, Arn Tellem.

“In the heat of the competition my emotions got the better of me,”
Young said in the statement. “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.”

The umpire–who was not officially identified because he’s a replacement ump working  while the regular minor league umps are on strike–released a statement after the game: “It’s an unfortunate incident and there should be no place for actions like that in the game of baseball. Any official should not be treated like that; (Young) embarrassed himself and his teammates.”

It’s the second significant run-in with an umpire for Young, who was suspended last season while with Double-A Montgomery for bumping an umpire almost a year ago to the day. He was suspended for three games for that incident.

This year’s incident is complicated by regular minor league umpires being on strike. The umpires have not reported for work at all this year as they seek better pay, and teams have hired local, amateur or retired umpires to work in their place. While there has not been outcry from fans about the quality of the umpiring, managers and players say it has been significantly inferior.

Minor League Baseball is not releasing the names of any replacement umps, nor is it allowing any of its teams to do so. Chris Hubler, a striking umpire who works as a crew chief in the International League, released a statement on the incident that named the replacement umpire and uses the Young incident to try to advance the striking umps’ cause.

“The incident . . . is unfortunate to say the least,” the statement said. “In most of my dealings with Delmon in the past, he has handled himself in a respectful, professional manner . . . I can only hope this does not tarnish the career of such a fine, young prospect. Furthermore, I would speculate the whole incident could have been avoided had properly trained, professional umpires been officiating the game.”

Young, 20, is the younger brother of Tigers outfielder Dmitri Young. He was the first overall pick in the 2003 draft and entered the season ranked No. 1 on BA’s Top 100 Prospects list, after ranking second a year ago.

Recent Incidents
Here is a look at what previous run-ins with umpires (or a catcher) have brought as suspensions in the past
Player Action Result
Izzy Alcantara Kicked a catcher Suspended for six games by International League
Roberto Alomar Spit on an umpire Suspended for five games by MLB
Milton Bradley Spit gum at umpire Suspended for seven games by Eastern League
Carl Everett Head butted an umpire Suspended for 10 games by MLB
Delmon Young Bumped an umpire Suspended for three games by Southern League