WASHINGTON -- With Darin Ruf's progress and the postseason almost certainly out of reach, the Phillies on Friday designated outfielder Delmon Young for assignment. The move correlated with the arrival of outfielder Casper Wells, whom the team claimed off waivers from the White Sox on Thursday.
Manager Charlie Manuel delivered the news to Young before the team's series opener against the Nationals. Young also spoke with general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. at the team's hotel.
"Honestly, I think that Delmon's a better offensive performer than he performed for us," Amaro said. "He just couldn't get anything, I don't think consistently, going for himself. And it's unfortunate, because I think he's a talented offensive player -- he just didn't do enough work and consistently enough for us to have him continue to play. Ruf is out there, he's going to get opportunities to play and playing time. He's got a chance to be a good young hitter for us."
Young, 27, hit .261 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs in 80 games for the Phillies after signing a one-year deal with the team in January. Amaro said that he discussed with Young the possibility of playing for Triple-A Lehigh Valley if he clears waivers, but that decision would ultimately be made by Young, an eight-year Major League veteran. Amaro added that there has not been much trade interest in the former No. 1 overall Draft pick.
After missing the first month of the season while recovering from offseason surgery on his right ankle, Young never seemed to find his timing at the plate.
"He was inconsistent with his swing," Manuel said. "I felt like he might've been trying to do too much, because I felt like he chased a lot of breaking balls down, especially when the pitcher was ahead of him. Things like that. And that's coming from either trying too hard or not being sharp."
Young also had trouble in right field, where the ankle often made him a defensive liability. Amaro said that the ankle injury probably set Young back early in the season.
"I think it probably did in the beginning, with his strength and the ability to turn and that sort of thing," Amaro said. "But really for us, it was about him being able to produce offensively, and it he wasn't going to be able to produce offensively, consistently, that was really the impetus behind this move."
The Phillies were Young's fourth team in eight years. Picked first overall by the Rays in 2003, he had a breakout year while with the Twins in 2010, when he drove in 112 runs, but he has since been a .266 hitter with 38 homers and 169 RBIs in 355 games.
Manuel, for one, thinks that Young can return to that level of production.
"He's still got a chance. I feel like he's still got a chance to be a good hitter," Manuel said. "He's got to be more consistent. For instance, I think he's very capable of hitting .285, .300, maybe better. And if he does that, he'll hit with power. I think he can do that."
Amaro was pleased with Young's presence in the clubhouse, but he said that ultimately the lack of production and the need to get Ruf and Domonic Brown more at-bats forced the general manager's hand.
"He was great in the clubhouse. He was very, very good. In fact, he was a lot better than I thought he would be," Amaro said. "He was very good with Domonic, and I've got nothing but good things to say about him except that I just don't think he performed well enough and consistently enough to warrant him still being on the club and taking at-bats away from guys like Ruf and Domonic Brown."
Tom Schad is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Schad