Pirates' Delwyn Young philosophical about demotion
Delwyn Young's reaction to the deal that brought second baseman Akinori Iwamura to the Pirates last week is simple:
It is what it is.
"I don't make the decisions, I just go out there and do my best," said Young, who made 52 starts at second base in 2009, the bulk coming after Freddie Sanchez was traded in July.
Young, 27, was one of 13 Pirates players in town this week for routine physicals and light workouts.
The acquisition of Iwamura, 30, from the Tampa Bay Rays for reliever Jesse Chavez makes Young the odd man out. The native of Japan will be the Pirates' highest-paid player next year, making $4.85 million, but his contract is up after next season.
In three years with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Young played only seven games at second, with one start, and 31 games in the outfield, with 17 starts. He made 29 starts with the Pirates in the outfield last season before making the switch to second. Yet there were still enough questions about Young's defensive ability at the position that before the Iwamura trade the Pirates had discussed moving Andy LaRoche to second in 2010.
"I felt I progressed in ways that most people didn't think I was going to do it," Young said. "But they evaluate us, and they feel we are what we are, and we feel we are who we are. Just to keep it simple: It is what it is."
Pirates general manager Neil Huntington said Young's role could expand in the near future.
"With the Akinori trade, we significantly upgraded (at second base)," Huntington said. "We put Delwyn back into a role that he has exceled at. We do still think he can be more than just a role player. But for us, right now, he is a role player - and a very good one."
Young, who batted .286 with a .326 on-base percentage last year, said his main goal is to get more at-bats.
"It's hard to be consistent playing from the bench," said Young, who will be arbitration-eligible after the coming season. "Nobody wants to play from the bench. But like I said, it is what it is.
"As long as you get 500 at-bats, that's what I love to do is hit. It's kind of frustrating sitting there and only getting one, chomping at the bit for once a night. I'd love to have this conversation next year about my 500 at-bats. So we'll see if I get there."