May 4th, 2012

Delmon Young apologizes for incident

Delmon Young’s first remarks to the media since his arrest last week in New York basically revolved around two main themes. First and foremost, he wanted to apologize to the Tigers and their fans for what happened, even if he can’t get into specifics because of the pending legal case. Second, he wanted to try to fight the image being portrayed that he is an anti-Semite.

Here was the first part of his media session Friday, before he took questions (it’s also in the video clip you see above):

“I’d like to apologize to everyone that’s been affected by this situation that happened in New York, to my teammates, to the Tigers organization, the Ilitch family, Major League Baseball, my friends and family, anyone that’s been offended by my actions. I can’t talk about anything that’s case-related, but I’d just like to apologize to everybody. I put myself in a bad situation, and I have no one to blame but myself. I’m currently getting treatment in an alcohol program through Major League Baseball. I just want to let people know that a lot of things people are saying about me misrepresent me. I made a lapse in judgment, but I can tell you that I am not anti-Semitic. I hope that going through the treatment program will get all the help I need to come back and be a great teammate and a successful baseball player in the Tigers organization. I’m sorry to all the fans, the Tigers, my teammates and everybody out there, but I just want to let everyone know that I am not an anti-Semitic. I wasn’t raised that way. I came from a good family. We weren’t taught any of that, especially growing up in a diverse area. I’ll let my actions from here on out take care of itself and show you guys that that person that’s being portrayed out there.”

Young said he’s in an alcohol counseling program. He is not in anything for anger management.

Other quotes from Young’s press conference:

  • On whether he thinks alcohol was at the heart of this incident: “That incident was an alcohol-related incident. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be sitting here talking in front of you guys if I didn’t have too much to drink, or if I just didn’t go out and drink at all. I know that for a fact.”
  • On his visit with Rabbi Josh Bennett: “We had a great conversation. It went really well, and I’m looking forward to doing stuff with them in the near future once we get back from the road trip.”
  • On any worries about fan reaction: “I hope after a while that they’ll see that that person that’s being portrayed wasn’t who I am and that’s not what I stand for. It’s just that I know it’s going to take a while. You can’t smooth things over and convince anyone after one speech, but just go out there and every day be a positive influence.”
  • On comments Dmitri Young made to Detroit News saying he set a bad example for Delmon: “No, these are my actions. You’re your own person. You make your own decisions. What Dmitri did in his life and career doesn’t affect me.”
  • On support from his teammates: “my teammates have been great. They’ve shown me a lot of support throughout. For an issue they can really back off and look the other way, they’ve been very supportive and I appreciate them doing that for me and I thank them for that.”
  • On anti-Semitic label: “That’s the toughest part, especially just being branded anything racist or bigoted, especially when that’s not me. I have a lot of diverse friends. I live in a diverse area. It’s not me.”
  • Is he embarrassed by this? “I have no one to blame but myself for putting myself in a bad situation. If I had stayed in my room and didn’t drink any alcohol, none of this would have happened.”
  • On possibility fans will forgive: “I would hope so, but I’ve got to go out there as an individual and show the community that what has transpired and what has been said about me is not me. So it’s going to be up to me to be able to give them an opportunity to be able to have forgiveness.”

Friday: Tigers vs. White Sox

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Brennan Boesch, RF
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
  4. Prince Fielder, 1B
  5. Andy Dirks, DH
  6. Alex Avila, C
  7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  8. Ryan Raburn, 2B
  9. Don Kelly, LF

P: Drew Smyly

Tigers activate Young, designate Eldred

Delmon Young’s suspension from Major League Baseball is officially over. So is the Tigers’ experiment with Triple-A slugging sensation Brad Eldred.

As the Tigers say they would, the team activated Young on Friday from MLB’s restricted list, where he had been placed last Saturday following his arrest and arraignment on aggravated harassment charges. He is not expected to start tonight against the White Sox, but he will be available as a right-handed hitter off the bench.

As it turns out, he’ll be the only right-handed power bat available off the bench now that the Tigers have ended their look at Eldred after a week. Detroit designated his contract for assignment to make room for Young on the roster.

Eldred’s red-hot start at Triple-A Toledo earned the 31-year-old another shot at the big leagues. He joined the Tigers last Friday in New York, where manager Jim Leyland said he was going to give him a shot.

“Basically, we had one of the hottest hitters, maybe ever, in the minor leagues. Take a shot,” Leyland said last Saturday. “Bring him up here and run him out there. I’m not going to put a timetable on it, but I think you run him out there until you think that he can or can’t do it.”

The timetable didn’t last long. Eldred had a triple down the line, an infield single and an RBI Friday night, then went 0-for-8 in the final two games, leaving him 2-for-13 with five strikeouts for the series. After a pinch-runner appearance Tuesday, he went 1-for-2 with a double and a walk Wednesday against Royals left-hander Jonathan Sanchez.

The final line for Eldred’s first Tigers stint: 3-for-16 with an RBI, a walk and six strikeouts. After Wednesday’s game, he noted the challenge of not trying to do too much in trying to make an immediate impression.

“It’s probably a little bit of a battle, because you obviously want to impress,” Eldred said. “You want to do something, but you obviously can’t get caught up in that. You really try to stick to the same things you’ve been doing, but at the same time, it’s like you’re starting from a clean slate. You want to get a couple hits, just so that you can catch up with everybody else in average, home runs, all that staff. It’s just something where you can’t put too much pressure on yourself.”

The Eldred move erases what was looming as a potential position crunch once Young returned. If Eldred was going to be the regular DH as forecast, Leyland would have to choose between Young and Andy Dirks in left field. This move might set up Young for more time at DH, something the Tigers avoided the first few weeks this season because he wasn’t comfortable doing it.

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