Young brothers to reunite on field

Young brothers to reunite on field

MILWAUKEE -- At age 15, Delmon Young took batting practice with the Cincinnati Reds. It's a bonus you get when your older brother is already an established big league player.

A 12-year age difference between Delmon and his brother, Dmitri, didn't leave much time for the two to play baseball together. But that didn't mean they didn't have opportunities to share in the sport.

Delmon spent plenty of time in Major League clubhouses when his brother played for the Cardinals, Reds and Tigers. He was a bat boy, he shagged balls and yes, Delmon got to show off his skills with the bat during that time as well.

The Twins' 22-year-old left fielder credits part of his development as a baseball player to getting those types of experiences when other young ballplayers can only sit back and watch.

"It made it easier on me, being around Barry Larkin, Ken Griffey Jr., Ozzie Smith, Mark McGwire and players of that caliber at such a young age," Delmon said. "I always spent my time when my brother was in Cincinnati shagging with Griffey."

Dmitri's career helped Delmon score an advantage at an early age, and it likely aided his speedy arrival to the Majors at age 20 with the Rays. Last season in his first full season, Delmon finished second in the 2007 American League Rookie of the Year vote before he was traded to the Twins in the offseason.

That trade has led to the two brothers finally getting to face each other in a regular-season game. On Tuesday, Dmitri and Delmon will share the field for the first time in the Majors when the Twins play host to the Nationals, Dmitri's current team, for the first of a three-game series.

Dmitri and Delmon did play against each other once before, in a Spring Training "B" game between the Tigers and Rays in 2004. That's when Dmitri was still playing for the Tigers and Delmon was in the Rays' Minor League system.

But after Dmitri, 34, was released by the Tigers during the 2006 season, he doubted that he would face Delmon in a regular-season game. Instead of retiring like he thought he might, Dmitri took an offer from the Nationals to continue playing last season, and he capitalized on the second opportunity, earning an All-Star Game nod and the National League Comeback Player of the Year Award.

So getting the chance to finally match up against his brother this week in Minnesota is something that Dmitri considers to be a blessing.

"Words can't describe how I feel," Dmitri said about facing his younger brother. "Let's put it this way, the whole family is coming up. Once he got to the big leagues, I thought I would face him, but when I got released, I thought that may not happen. After he was traded and I saw the schedule, I thought, 'This is going to be fun.'"

The entire Young family will be on hand for the series, including their father, Larry, who guided both brothers during the course of their careers.

Like his brother, Delmon, too, is looking forward to the chance to finally match up on the big stage in the Major Leagues.

"It was cool to play against him the first time, but it was just a Spring Training game," Delmon said. "I'm just looking forward to playing against him in a real game."

Pitching matchup
MIN: RHP Livan Hernandez (6-4, 5.84)
After a very solid start to the year, Hernandez has started to look like a different pitcher recently. He struggled mightily in his first career start against the Indians, giving up seven runs on 12 hits over just three-plus innings. It was the fifth straight start that he had been tagged for at least five earned runs. He's now allowed 136 hits on the season, putting him in line to become the first Major League pitcher to give up more than 300 hits in a season since Phil Niekro, who allowed 311 for Atlanta in 1979. Hernandez will next face a former team of his, the Nationals, in Interleague Play. He is 6-5 with a 4.19 ERA in 12 career appearances vs. Washington.

WAS: LHP John Lannan (4-7, 3.43 ERA)
The first time that Lannan faced the Pirates in May, he made it only three innings into the game. The second time in June, he went out and threw six quality innings, giving up only two runs on seven hits. Lannan said he wanted to establish his territory with his fastball. He did just that by throwing 61 of his 93 pitches for strikes. Lannan has yet to face Minnesota during his two-year career.

Catcher Joe Mauer was given the day off on Sunday against the Brewers following Saturday night's 12-inning game. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that he likely would have used Mauer if it was a regular nine-inning contest. ... Triple-A Rochester first baseman Randy Ruiz was named the Twins Minor League Player of the Week ending on June 13. Ruiz, 30, hit .346 with three homers and seven RBIs over seven games.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• KSTP-AM/TRN, KMNV / KMNQ (Español)

Up next
• Wednesday: Nationals (Jason Bergmann, 1-4, 5.48) at Twins (Kevin Slowey, 3-6, 4.70), 7:10 p.m. CT
• Thursday: Nationals (Shawn Hill, 1-3, 4.61) at Twins (Glen Perkins, 2-2, 4.57), 12:10 p.m. CT
• Friday: Diamondbacks (Randy Johnson, 4-4, 4.76) at Twins (Scott Baker, 2-2, 3.71), 7:10 p.m. CT

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.