Delmon Young, whose season-long slump at the plate and in the field has contributed to the team's ugly 18-37 record, shook things up last night by bringing a small hibachi grill to left field when Minnesota took the field. The final tally: 3 errors and a dozen delicious chicken breasts.
"The whole key is the marinade," said Young. "You can't just season those things right before you fire up the coals, otherwise it'll just burn off. You have to get the meat soaking in that stuff for at least 4, 6 hours minimum, overnight in the fridge if at all possible."
The Twins outfielder was candid about the reasons for his unorthodox approach to fielding his position.
"I get hungry out there. You start thinking what restaurant you're going to after the game, and all of a sudden a pop fly lands five feet to your right. Figured I'd kill two birds with one stone."
"I'll be honest with you, his reaction time getting out of that Adirondack chair versus just standing there is negligible," said manager Ron Gardenhire. "And if he's up tending the grill, you've already got him on his feet. Win-win situation for us out there: Delmon's either got his head in the game or he's making some dinner for the boys."
The Royals attempted to take advantage of Young's new approach, with right-handed hitters repeatedly trying to pull the ball and lefties going the opposite way. Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson said he was happy with the way the staff adjusted to Kansas City's attack.
"We had (Anthony) Swarzak work the righties away and the lefties inside all night," said Anderson. "They still kept trying to hit it to left, especially when Delmon was mixing up some Arnold Palmers for the guys in the bullpen. Except for a couple mistakes, we did a good job out there."
The mistakes in question were two balls hit over Young's head as he flipped the chicken breasts, and a third when he attempted to catch a Billy Butler liner with an oven mitt instead of his glove.
"Yeah, those first two are tough plays even when he's not grilling," said Gardenhire. "On the oven mitt play, that's on Trevor (Plouffe). Our shortstop has to let our guys know when they have the wrong mitt or it's gonna hurt us, and that's exactly what happened. Can't win a game playing like that, and if Plouffe can't figure that out we'll find someone who will."