ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Tampa Bay prospect Delmon Young, who plays for the Triple-A Durham Bulls, was suspended for 50 games without pay by the International League on Tuesday for throwing a bat that hit a replacement umpire in the chest.
IL president Randy Mobley said he believed the suspension was the longest in the league's 123-year history.
Young was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 draft and was chosen the 2005 minor league player of the year by Baseball America. His brother is Detroit Tigers star Dmitri Young.
"The Tampa Bay Devil Rays fully support the decision," the team said in a statement. "As stated before, we do not tolerate this type of conduct from anyone in the Devil Rays' organization."
The suspension is retroactive to April 27, the day after Young tossed his bat. The 20-year-old outfielder has agreed to perform at least 50 hours of community service, and can play again June 19.
Tampa Bay said it expected Young to resume training at its minor league complex this week.
The IL issued an indefinite suspension following the bat-throwing in Pawtucket, R.I. The umpire, filling in for striking minor league umps, was not injured.
"The goal in reviewing this very serious matter was to arrive at a fair and just action against Mr. Young," Mobley said. With the suspension "and the significant fine as a result of the loss of salary, I believe this has been accomplished."
"Delmon was in agreement that community service would be part of the final action taken by the League," he said. "My hope is that this unfortunate incident can have a positive and life changing impact on Delmon's personal and professional life."
Young was ejected in the first inning after taking a called third strike. He lingered in the batter's box, walked away and then threw his bat end over end at the umpire, hitting him in the chest.
"I sincerely regret my actions in the game yesterday," Young said in a statement released the next day by the office of his agent, Arn Tellem. "Regrettably, in the heat of the competition my emotions got the better of me.
"My behavior was completely unacceptable. I want everyone to know that I recognize that it is never right to throw a bat and I certainly never intended for the bat to make contact with the umpire. Nevertheless, I owe an apology to my team, the fans and most importantly to the umpire, for the incident. I am sorry."
In Double-A ball last year, Young was suspended for three games by the Southern League for bumping the chest of plate umpire Jeff Latter.
Regular minor league umpires are on strike this season. Fill-ins umps — most of them with college or high school experience — have been working in their place. Minor league teams are not releasing the names of the replacements.
"It's an unfortunate incident and there should be no place for actions like that in the game of baseball," the umpire said in a statement released by Pawtucket. "Any official should not be treated like that. He embarrassed himself and his teammates."