Notes: GM discusses Upton, Young
LaMar says Upton needs to improve, likes Young's progress
NEW YORK -- Devil Rays vice president of baseball operations and general manager Chuck LaMar talked about the futures of two of the organization's most talented players -- B.J. Upton and Delmon Young -- prior to Monday's game against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
Upton is playing shortstop at Triple-A Durham, where he is hitting .295 with five home runs and 32 RBIs, but he also has committed 27 errors in 70 games.
"Cam [Bonifay, director of player personnel and scouting] went and saw B.J. play the last four nights, and honestly, right now, he's got to continue to progress," said LaMar, who said he plans to go see Upton play in the next week or two. He complimented Upton for playing hard and having a good attitude, but added: "Right now, he may not be as far along as we thought he would be this time last year."
Then there's Young, who many consider the best Minor League prospect in baseball. Young is hitting .335 with 16 home runs and 59 RBIs in 67 games.
"In Delmon Young's case, at the right time, we're going to have to move him. The Southern League might demand us to move him to Triple-A -- he hit two more home runs [Sunday night]," LaMar said. "He's leading the league in home runs, RBIs, is fifth in the league I hitting and he's 19 years old. I would suspect sometime here in the near future we're going to consider moving him to Triple-A. We'll see what happens from there.
"If he has the same kind of results in Triple-A, then we'll have a decision we'll have to make. I think we will get him up to the Triple-A level and see what happens. ... [Carl] Crawford and [Rocco] Baldelli, we called them up to Triple-A before considering them for the Major Leagues, so I think we'll go the normal route with Delmon Young."
Don't get too happy: On Tuesday, the Devil Rays will face Randy Johnson for the first time since defeating him at Yankee Stadium on April 19.
Hideo Nomo got the win for the Rays and Eduardo Perez had two home runs off of the Big Unit. But don't look for Perez to gloat about his success during that magical night in the Bronx.
"I've got to worry about today first," Perez said. "I hit a couple of home runs off him, but he's throwing well now. You can't ever take anything for granted."
Asked if he thought Johnson remembered the night, Perez said hitters forget quicker than pitchers.
"I just think from what I've seen, pitchers remember their outs more," Perez said. "They study the hitters more, so I think they remember more. [Randy Johnson is] a great pitcher, tomorrow night's another night, and like I said, he's a great pitcher. He might strike me out three times. You just have to stay humble with it, because if you don't, this game will humble you."
Torre on Piniella: The New York media converged on Lou Piniella before Monday's game to revisit some of the dialogue he has expressed over the past week about his frustrations about losing. The Rays manager said he did regret saying that he wasn't responsible for what has been going on with the team, adding that he was responsible for his part.
In the other dugout, Yankees manager Joe Torre said he did not feel for Piniella, explaining: "He's been around a long time, he's won a World Series, and when he went there, he and the owners are the only ones that know what transpired there. Lou is a good baseball man. You sign on and do the best you can."
Torre said managing the game is a lot like playing the game.
"You're going to vent, just like a player would," Torre said. "Lou especially, because he's very passionate about what he does."
Managing is "very precious," according to Torre.
"There are only so many of them, so to have one of them, it's special," Torre said. "I've had my share; I managed the Mets, the Braves and Cardinals, and I never looked at it as saying, 'I wish I was somewhere else.' The whole thing about managing is being creative and doing what you can."
On deck: The Devil Rays will play the Yankees in the second game of their four-game series Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET at Yankee Stadium. Nomo (4-6, 6.31 ERA) will pitch for the Devil Rays and will be opposed by Johnson (7-5, 3.51 ERA). Nomo bested Johnson the last time the pair met April 19 at Yankee Stadium.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.