Yet, for some reason, Ron Gardenhire has been hugely reluctant to mess with Young's routine in any way. The manager's decision to use noodle-armed Ben Revere in right field while sticking with Young in left prior to Denard Span's injury flew in the face of sheer logic, but Gardy provided the following rationalization:
"Not to mess with Delmon more than anything else,'' Gardenhire said of his reason for leaving Young in left. "He's got his hands full in left, so we'll keep him working out there and not trying to mess with his mind any more. We're trying to get him hitting. I think if you start switching him in the outfield, he's got something else he's got to worry about. So just leave Delmon alone."OK, so what about using Young at designated hitter, so he can focus completely on hitting and stop sabotaging the team's pitchers?
"Delmon's not really too excited about DH-ing," Gardenhire said. "He's been working really hard in the outfield, trying to get better. He feels a lot more comfortable playing, and I respect that."Despite the fact that he's literally been one of the worst players in all of baseball this year, Young continues to not only start every day, but hit fifth in the lineup and dictate where he plays in the field.
If Young had a long track record of success, or was showing gradual improvement, or even if he was considered a staple in the clubhouse, I might understand the manager's tact. None of these things are true. Why is he being coddled while Trevor Plouffe is being demoted after making bad throws and Danny Valencia is being benched for multiple games when his bat goes cold?
This doesn't qualify as a season-opening slump anymore. We're coming up on the halfway point in the season and Young's OPS continues to hover around .500, which is staggeringly bad for a plodding corner outfielder.
Gardenhire needs to start worrying less about disrupting the rhythm of a player who is currently amidst the worst slump of his entire career, and more about the overall well-being of this Twins team, which is trying desperately to scrape its way back into contention.
If Young has so much on his mind, perhaps some time off from playing (or, as I've suggested, a change of scenery) would be the best course of action. Leaving Delmon alone has done a lot more harm than good.