02/15/2013 3:40 PM ET
Phils hoping Young seizes third-base job
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Michael Young stood in front of his locker on Friday at Bright House Field and answered a familiar question.
Can he play third base?
Placido Polanco answered the same question in Spring Training 2010 after he spent previous seasons playing second base with the Tigers. Now Young, like Polanco, must prove he can handle third again. He played there regularly with the Rangers from 2009-10 (and 358 games in his career) before shuffling around the field the previous two seasons. And although he is not known for his glove like Polanco, the Phillies hope Young can handle the position competently.
"I've played there before," Young said. "I have experience playing third base. I've had a full season over there. I've played in the World Series at third base before. As far as re-acclimating myself to it, it's nothing a little hard work can't fix. That's why I was looking forward to getting down here."
Young, 36, spends his offseasons in Dallas, so he worked indoors, which included fielding ground balls.
"Those are things that are part of normal offseason preparation heading into a season," he said. "Then you get down here and you're ready to go and the second they say, 'Go, in Spring Training, you put your work in and you're ready for Opening Day."
While defense certainly will be important, the Phillies hope Young produces offensively. He endured a career-low .682 OPS last season, but he said he believes he solved a mechanical flaw in his swing late in the year, which allowed him to hit .301 with an .801 OPS in September. If he can replicate that success over a six-month span in 2013, the Phillies will be thrilled.
"I'm looking forward to it," Young said. "Whatever [manager Charlie Manuel] needs me to do, I'll do. I know right now my role is to play third base every day and it's something I'm looking forward to, but I'm prepared to do anything my team needs me to do to help them win games."
Phillies still think Delmon could land on DL
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies have said a few times that Delmon Young could open the season on the disabled list following microfracture surgery on his right ankle in November. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. reiterated that point earlier this month, when he said Young will be the only player in camp behind schedule and might not play in a Grapefruit League game until mid-March.
Manager Charlie Manuel affirmed that likelihood again on Friday.
"From where the doctors and the trainers have him at, I think there's a chance he'll miss some time," the skipper said.
Young didn't dispute that.
"The ankle is feeling good but I'm not a doctor," he said. "So when the doctor tells me when everything will be ready, I'll be out there. I'm not going to put any date on it. I'll be out there at that time when it's fully healed and I build up baseball stamina, and I can be out there for nine innings."
So he's likely to miss the beginning of the season then?
"I just told him, I have no clue," Young said. "So that answered your question."
The Phillies signed Young to a one-year, $750,000 contract that can reach $3.5 million based on incentives and performance bonuses. He receives $250,000 the first day he spends on the active 25-man roster. He also receives conditioning bonuses. Young will be weighed six times this season. Each time he makes weight, he makes $100,000. The first three times he must weigh 230 pounds or fewer. The second three times he must weigh 235 pounds or fewer.
Young would not say how much he weighs with the Phillies holding their first full-squad workout on Saturday.
"I don't really go on the scale that much," he said. "I just see what clothes fit and see when I can go on the beach."
Young likely will not be participating in much of Saturday's workout, if any at all. He can take batting practice and play catch, but that's about it.
"I'm on my own program until I'm fully able to go out there," he said. "I have other things to get done. The timing of it all will conflict with me being on the field. ... You want to be out there but you also don't want to set yourself back a month or two by trying to go out too early."
Young doesn't think missing time should affect him too much.
"I don't know," he said, when asked if he hopes to play in a Grapefruit League game. "It really doesn't matter. I've seen Joe Mauer miss a whole Spring Training, and a month of the season and win MVP and go to the playoffs. As long as you're healthy when you come back, you just go out and play well."
In the meantime, that increases playing time for corner outfielders John Mayberry Jr., Domonic Brown, Laynce Nix and Darin Ruf.
• Ruf is taking grounders at first base, as well as working out in the outfield. He will get time in both spots this spring. "We'll see what we've got," Manuel said. "He's going to get to play a lot."
• Manuel likes what he sees from his pitchers early in camp. He specifically mentioned left-hander Jake Diekman's bullpen session on Friday. The skipper also is impressed with Rule 5 Draft pick Ender Inciarte's speed in the outfield.
• Manuel said that Freddy Galvis could play 60-70 games this season, giving him about 240 at-bats, plus 60 pinch-hitting at-bats. "Does he help us giving us 300 at-bats here, or 500 at-bats in the Minor Leagues?" Manuel said. "I say being on our team, getting 300 at-bats [is the choice]."
• The Phillies will have an intrasquad game at noon on Feb. 22 at Bright House Field. The game is free and open to the public.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.