Twins' outfield better with Young in it
December, 10, 2008
I haven't seen a manager backtrack this enthusiastically since Lou Piniella tried to turn Russ Davis into an outfielder
LAS VEGAS -- Ron Gardenhire's public comments Tuesday about Delmon Young resembled last week's about as much as Fargo, N.D., resembles Las Vegas.
The Twins' manager, almost sheepish about "the fire I accidentally lit" by suggesting at an appearance in Fargo last week that Young won't be in his starting lineup next season, insisted at baseball's winter meetings that "we're blessed to have four talented outfielders" and that nothing is settled about the Twins' 2009 outfield.
"I'm backpedaling; can't you see?" Gardenhire said. "That was me sort of screwing up.
Everyone knows the players are the ones who will decide that. They're the ones who have to go out and earn (their jobs)."
The Twins' manager told the Fargo Forum newspaper last week that Michael Cuddyer, Denard Span and Carlos Gomez "have to play every day," pointedly leaving out Young, 23. That Young became the focus of stories after Gardenhire's visit to Fargo surprised the manager, he said.
"It wasn't a shot at anybody," Gardenhire said. "I was hunting. And I saw my picture in the Aberdeen (S.D.) newspaper, and I said, 'Whoa.'"
"A lot of clubs might read that and say, 'Hey, we can get Delmon Young for nothing.' And I can tell you right now, that ain't going to happen," Gardenhire said. "We gave up a lot for Delmon Young, and we're not out to give him away. He's a very talented player with a lot of upside."
Still, the manager hinted that the Twins are at least listening to offers for the former No. 1 overall pick, who hit .290 with 10 home runs after being acquired in November 2007 in a trade that sent right-hander Matt Garza to Tampa Bay.
"If there's an area where we could move a person and somebody came after us strong for one of our outfielders, that's an area where we have a little more depth than other places. If we have to do it, we have to do it," Gardenhire said. But, he hastened to add, "there's never anything wrong with going into spring training with a little depth."