Twins left fielder Delmon Young no longer needs the Perfect Fit Button (my new favorite infomercial after the doggy potty patch).
Center fielder Denard Span joked with host Patrick Reusse on "AM-1500 the SportsTalk Station" the other day that fans are starting to mistake him for Young.
After losing 32 pounds -- that takes true dedication over a long period -- Young more than any other player intrigues me the most this season.
Let's look back at parts of a blog I penned on Young in June of '09:
Is this the real Delmon Young? Did he really have 93 RBI's, while hitting .288 in 2007?
Back then, his mother, Bonnie Young, was presumably in good health. It was a bit over three months ago that it was discovered that she had pancreatic and liver cancer.
She passed away recently.
No one can pretend to know the emotional swings that Delmon is dealing with. Since rejoining the team on May 24, he has hit .118/.143/.118 in 35 at-bats, with 19 strikeouts.
Those numbers can be excused. But what can't is a blurb from a Lavelle E. Neal III story in Friday's paper: (Ron) Gardenhire said Young has been pleasant to deal with, but he still doesn't like getting advice about his swing.
Further troubling information was provided by the St. Paul Pioneer Press in Saturday's edition: Last season the Twins had similar trouble communicating with Young on his hitting. Asked if that's gotten better this year, Gardenhire said, "He's really easy to talk to, but then when you get in a conversation about hitting and stuff, he doesn't like to hear that."
How, at 23-years-old, can Young be so stubborn? If hitting coach Joe Vavra or Gardenhire offer up advice, you take it, especially when what you're doing isn't performing the trick. We can argue the merits of the Twins' hitting philosophies, how David Ortiz went on to unreal highs after getting out of the Twins' system, and whether their thoughts match Young's talent, but at this point, he needs to listen.
But, Young is simply not capable. Case in point: Last year a former successful big league hitter, while out with a group of friends, ran into Young in a restaurant. He offered Delmon a tip about his wrists. Delmon's response - "Thanks ____________, but my wrists are faster than yours ever were!"
That anecdote is not meant to suggest that Delmon is a bad guy. I've heard he's likable, but just very stuck in his own ways.
An underappreciated baseball website, fangraphs.com, tossed out a good solution to the Young kerfuffle.
At this point, the Twins would probably be best served if Young went on the DL with Dontrelle Willis disease, and they used some kind of mental anguish issue to get him off the roster and let him “rehab” down in the minors.
Young, like many can do, made me look foolish with his play in the second-half of last year. He hit .300 with nine home runs after the All-Star break, .340 in September as the Twins made a memorable comeback to force the one-game division tiebreaker with Detroit.
Now, let's fast-forward to this week. Young to MLB.com's Peter Gammons: "When have you ever seen me smiling this much? ... I think I'm finally where I thought I should be five years ago."
Gardenhire to MLB.com's Kelly Thesier: "He went through an awful lot last year. There was a lot on that young man's mind. But I think he's grown as a person and as a player. He's become a fantastic teammate and he's worked really hard this winter to get himself in great shape and put together a good year for himself and our ballclub. I'm really happy for him and proud of him."
Because Young is still only 24-years-old and has teased us enough, even more than Francisco Liriano or JJ Hardy, he is the player I'll be monitoring the closest come the start of the season.