In retrospect, it could have been a monumental error. After injuring his left oblique in Game 1 of the ALCS, Detroit Tigers left fielder Delmon Young was placed on the disabled list, effectively eliminating him from the series.
Oddly enough, teammate Magglio Ordonez re-fractured his ankle during batting practice before Game 1. Though Ordonez played on it, after the game he was placed on the disabled list, and suddenly Young was back on the roster. On Thursday night in Game 5, Young, along with a wayward ground ball, led the Tigers back from the brink of elimination to defeat the Texas Rangers 7-5. Amazingly, the man who should've been out of commission launched two homers and drove in three runs.
It has been a strange turn of events for the Tigers, a string of good fortune and lucky breaks (Ordonez included) for the Tigers to find themselves going back to Texas down three games to two. Young was acquired from the Twins at the July 31 trade deadline for minor-league pitcher Cole Nelson. The deal has proven advantageous for the Tigers, as the 25-year-old Young has flourished since and should be a core player for Detroit for years to come along with Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander and Victor Martinez.
I first saw Delmon Young swing a bat when he was just 12 years old. I had acquired his brother Dmitri in the 1997 offseason. Dmitri brought Delmon to spring training and to Cincinnati, and on occasion Delmon would take BP with the big-leaguers. Even having just turned 13, you could tell what kind of hitter he was going to be. To possess such bat speed and discriminating plate discipline at so young an age was unique.
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