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Young will be back with Tigers Friday, but not in lineup

The Sports Xchange

Delmon Young steps into an uncertain future Friday if he comes off baseball's suspended list as expected.

Manager Jim Leyland will try to shield him from some of the pressure by not starting Young in his first game back, and long-time Leyland watchers think it wouldn't be out of character for the manager to let the public get used to his presence before sticking him out in left field again.

His stated reasoning for not playing Young on Friday was to give him time to take batting practice and shag some fly balls to get him back close to game speed first.

Leyland said he might insert Young into the game at some point should the situation warrant, although batting against Jake Peavy isn't in the cards.

It's possible Young will be asked to pinch-hit late, so he and the organization will get a line on public reaction over his arrest a week ago in New York.

Tigers' fans embraced Miguel Cabrera following his two alcohol-related incidents. But Delmon Young is not Miguel Cabrera -- off the field, on the field or in the clubhouse.

Young could take a lesson from Cabrera's public contrition, however.

Detroit's manager could put Young in his lineup as the designated hitter, at least for a short spell, and despite his stance against being the designated hitter, he could well wind up as the guy who gets most of the DH starts the rest of the season.

Several outstanding catches in left by Andy Dirks and Don Kelly while Young was on the suspended list displayed the superiority of their defensive skills over Young's.

With Comerica Park having a big left field, that's important. Leyland also likes having those left-handed bats in his lineup against right-handed pitching.

Young put himself on a different spot with his behavior. He is eligible for free agency at the end of the season and the quality of his numbers the rest of the way could determine the quality of the numbers he is offered to play next season.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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