Nats agree to minor league deal with Young

VIERA, Fla. -- Former All-Star Dmitri Young agreed to a
minor league contract with the Washington Nationals on Wednesday,
getting another chance after the Detroit Tigers cut him last year
following legal and substance-abuse problems.

Dmitri Young Young

Young was released in September, and later that month he was sentenced by a court in Michigan to a year's probation for assaulting his former girlfriend. Last summer, Young spent 30 days at a rehabilitation center for depression and alcohol abuse.

"He's a good kid that's made some mistakes, but he can hit," Nationals general manager Jim Bowden said.

The 33-year-old Young has a .289 career average with 154 homers and 599 RBIs over parts of 11 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds and Tigers.

He batted .250 with seven homers and 23 RBIs in 48 games with Detroit last season. Young hasn't finished a season at .300 or higher since hitting .302 with 21 homers and 69 RBIs for the Reds in 2001, when Bowden was the team's GM.

"Dmitri Young has been through an awful lot personally over the last several years. He's been extremely apologetic for the mistakes he's made in his life. He has asked for a second chance in life," Bowden said. "He comes in knowing that the organization has zero tolerance on any incident whatsoever that may take place. If it does happen, he'll be released at that time. He understands that."

Young and former Montreal Expos third baseman Tony Batista, who
also agreed to a minor league deal with Washington on Tuesday, were not invited to major league spring training. Instead, they will report next week to the team's minor league camp.

Batista was released by the Minnesota Twins in June after hitting .236 with five homers in 50 games last season.

Bowden referred to the players as "assets," saying they could wind up providing depth for Washington at first base (Young) or third base (Batista) -- and also could be dealt to another team for prospects.

"It's important to have pieces to trade," Bowden said.