In reduced role, Delmon Young finds a way to deliver

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Annual regular season disappointment/postseason hero Delmon Young had another magical October moment in the eighth inning Friday, delivering a three-run double off Joakim Soria that put the Orioles up 7-6 on the Tigers in their Game 2 victory.

The double came in his first at-bat in a week. A bit player for the Orioles throughout the season, he had 35 at-bats total in September. Only in August did he see semi-regular action, a stretch that ended when the Orioles acquired Alejandro De Aza to play left field.

Young didn’t seem to mind the lesser role, though. In fact, he thrived, hitting .302 with seven homers and 30 RBI in 242 at-bats. His .779 OPS was the second highest mark in his eight seasons, trailing only the 2010 season in which he hit 21 homers and 112 RBI for the Twins. That performance led to much higher expectations, which he never could meet. His OPS went from .826 in 2010 to .695, .707 and .715 the following three years. Those are the kinds of OPSs one expects from a decent second baseman. Young, being a butcher in the outfield, is a big liability putting up those numbers.

The Orioles, though, needed to give Young just 18 starts in the outfield this year. He was a DH on 38 occasions. Coming off the bench, Young hit .400 in 30 at-bats.

This would seem to be what Young should be going forward: a spare part, his low-maintenance swing always ready at a moment’s notice.

But it will only take one team for things to work out differently. Young is a good luck charm, after all, having somehow gone to the postseason six straight years with four different teams. He has nine homers and 21 RBI in 118 career postseason at-bats, so he’s clutch, too. Plus, he’s just 29. Surely, he’s worth one more shot as an everyday DH or even, gulp, as a left fielder. Just stick a speedy center fielder next to him. What’s the worst that could happen?

Hopefully not. Young was handed a starting job by the Phillies in 2013, but only at a $750,000 salary. Last winter, he had to take a minor league contract. Teams are smarter now, and they seem to be valuing Young’s contributions appropriately. He’s a role player capable of delivering a big hit when it’s most needed. He’s found his niche.

Donaldson ejected for kicking dirt on plate after home run

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Minnesota’s Josh Donaldson managed to get ejected while hitting a home run.

Donaldson barked at plate umpire Dan Bellino for the second time in the sixth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.

With the score 2-2, Bellino called a strike when the 2015 AL MVP checked his swing on a 2-0 pitch from Reynaldo Lopez.

Manager Rocco Baldelli came out to speak with Bellino, and Donaldson homered down the left-field line on the next offering. After rounding the bases, Donaldson kicked dirt at home plate as he crossed it.

Bellino ejected him immediately, and Donaldson, realizing he had missed home plate, returned to the plate to touch it and then argued as he kicked more dirt on it.

Donaldson also had argued with Bellino on a 1-1 breaking ball in the first inning that appeared to be high but was called a strike, leading to a strikeout.

“We need Josh on the field, out there playing, and at third base,” Baldelli said. “That’s when we’re at our best. And so that’s really the end of it. I think we can move past it at his point, and go from here.”

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