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Delmon takes step forward; rehab stint nearing

Delmon takes step forward; rehab stint nearing play video for Delmon takes step forward; rehab stint nearing

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies outfielder Delmon Young played a full seven-inning extended spring game in right field Thursday and planned to do so again Friday, setting him up for a rehab assignment that could begin as early as this weekend.

Young went 2-for-6 with a walk and two strikeouts in a game against the Pirates' extended spring squad at Richie Ashburn Field at the Carpenter Complex. He didn't have to make too many challenging plays in right field, but he did snag one fly ball as he was running toward the fence in right-center field.

"I felt fine, glad to get back out there. It's extended [spring camp] and everything, but it's fun," Young said. "It brings a lot more out of you, even though you're not using to playing in 1 o'clock games every day outside Spring Training."

Young will undergo a bigger test Friday, when he expects to play another seven innings in right field -- his first time playing the outfield on back-to-back days. He said he didn't know the plan after that, but it would seem as if an official Minor League rehab assignment wouldn't be far behind if he comes through Friday's game with no setbacks, doesn't feel any soreness Saturday and gets the necessary medical clearance.

Phils general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., who watched the entire game from his perch behind home plate, declined to comment. Amaro has previously said that Young is expected to return in mid-to-late April.

Overall, Young was pleased with how he's felt as he works his way back from microfracture surgery on his right ankle. It occasionally appeared as if his ankle was bothering him when he ran Thursday, but he insisted it felt fine. Young isn't worried about being an everyday right fielder for the first time since 2007 either.

"I feel fine. That's where I played most of my life," Young said. "The last time was '07, but I still always shagged out in right field the last couple years."

Young, who came to the plate in every inning, walked in his first at-bat and struck out in the third and fifth, but he was sent to first base in the fifth to get more work on the basepaths. He hit a bloop single in the sixth, then made loud contact on a double to deep center field in the seventh inning. Young tried to stretch it into a triple, but he got thrown out as he slid into third for the final out of the game.

"Just seeing what you've got," Young said of the play. "If you're a pitcher, you've got to let one loose. If you're a hitter, you've got to let one loose. You've just got to see where you're at."

Young will get a better feel for that Friday. If all goes well, it won't be too long until he's manning right field for the Phillies.

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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