Young turning things around with Nats
Former Tiger goes 1-for-4 with one RBI against former team
VIERA, Fla. -- Dmitri Young acknowledged on Friday morning that it was tough watching the Tigers in the postseason in October. A month earlier, the team released him because of lack of production. He remained in Detroit after his dismissal because a Michigan court told him to stay in the city for 30 days and take a breathalyzer test. Young had been charged with misdemeanor domestic violence and was sentenced to one-year probation.
Young would walk around Detroit and Tigers fans would say to him, "You should be in the postseason," and it would leave Young depressed.
"I was in Detroit with the whole court thing," Young said. "That's what made matters worse. If I was in California or Florida, it would not have been a big deal. The fans were supportive. It was a situation where it happened for a reason and you grow from it. I've definitely grown from it."
Young, 33, is now with the Nationals and found himself playing against the Tigers on Friday. It was the first time he faced his old club since he was let go. Young didn't display any emotions against his old club. He was seen hugging several members of the Detroit media and expressed no ill will toward the Tigers organization.
"I just take it in stride. I'm just here to represent the Washington Nationals," Young said. "Everything that happened, happened for a reason. I'm alive today and I lived to tell about it."
Young went 1-for-4 against the Tigers in a 10-4 Nationals victory. He had an RBI double off reliever Fernando Rodney in the sixth inning. Young later scored in the inning.
"There were no emotions," Young said. "I was just going out there and playing the game like a professional. That's the advantage of knowing some of the guys. I knew Rodney would come with a changeup at some point. I got some good wood on it."
Young has been nothing but professional since being invited to Nationals camp last month. He is often credited for being a mentor to the team's top prospects, and he already has shown that he is a leader in Major League camp. In fact, according to a team source, the players agreed that if Young makes the team, he will be the judge in Kangaroo Court, a playful session in which the players are fined for doing things wrong on and off the field. The team had its first Kangaroo Court session earlier in the week, with Barry Larkin, the special advisor to the general manager, as the judge.
Young also has been productive with the bat, going 6-for-17 (.353) with a home run and three RBIs. Young credits the Nationals' prospects for giving him the drive to be successful.
"I saw some of the coaches last night and they were thanking me for being good with the young guys," he said. "I was like, 'Thank you for giving me an opportunity to be with those guys like the Chris Marreros, Mike Daniels, the Ian Desmonds and the Justin Maxwells, Collin Balester.' I was being a kid around those kids again. It was fun."
The Nationals have a no-tolerance policy if Young has problems off the field again. He will be released the moment he gets in trouble. He has often said that Type 2 diabetes was the reason he had problems keeping his emotions in check. He has the illness under control and plans on being a model citizen.
"I test my blood sugar level at all time," Young said. "I'm making sure that it doesn't get too low, because if it gets too low, the mood swings start. I have a little anxiety -- all those symptoms that come with it."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.