Leyland planning to start Delmon in left on some days
Delmon Young returned to left field this past weekend out of necessity, thanks to Interleague play and National League rules. Turns out he might still get some starts there once the Tigers return home and get their designated hitter slot back next weekend against the Rockies.
Young went 2-for-13 with a solo homer, a double and four strikeouts over the three-game series in Cincinnati, where he started all three games in left field. He also made a costly misplay in left field Saturday on a ball he lost in the sunlight. His batting average for the season dropped from .261 to .254. However, he’s still batting better as a left fielder (.277 average, .759 OPS) than as a DH (.244, .640).
Young began the season playing in left field and struggled out of the gate in April. He missed a week on MLB’s restricted list in the wake of his arrest in New York City at the end of April on aggravated harrassment and hate crime charges, then returned in early May to find himself virtually a full-time DH.
Manager Jim Leyland isn’t promising Young a lot of play in the outfield, but would like to use him there a couple days a week, he said after Sunday night’s win.
“I talked to him a little bit about this — DH four or five times a week, but play the outfield a couple [times], but to break it up for him I think would help,” Leyland said. “I’ve talked about all these things. We’ve been making plans for it, but it seems like we have somebody different every day that can’t go, so we haven’t been able to do exactly what we wanted.”
Most of the starts in left will go to Andy Dirks once he returns from the 15-day disabled list, potentially later this week. Quintin Berry could stick with the team in a reserve role, though Young getting a start or two in left might work against the speedy Berry.
Leyland also didn’t commit full-time to Dirks returning to the second spot in the lineup. He said he could continue play Brennan Boesch there if he remains on a hot streak.