Supersize me!

The Padres today claimed first baseman Walter Young off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles, adding a power bat - and considerable girth - to the mix heading in to spring training. The Padres believe he is more than a designated hitter.

Walter Young, who is listed at 6-foot-5 and 320 pounds, was placed on the 40-man roster and will get consideration for a bench role based on his work in Peoria. He joins Jack Cust, Justin Leone, Paul McAnulty and Tagg Bozied in pursuit of the club's final roster spot.

The giant left-handed batter hit .303 with a .424 slugging percentage in 33 at bats during a brief audition with Baltimore last season and has a .502 slugging percentage over the last four minor league seasons. In 2005 during his first exposure to Triple-A, Young posted a .288 batting average with 29 doubles and 13 home runs for Ottawa - one of the few Pacific Coast League parks, which doesn't heavily favor hitters.

"He gives us a little more depth to look at," said Grady Fuson, vice president for scouting and development. "Obviously, he's got more raw power than anyone out there, and he's not purely a designated hitter even at that size."

When he started his professional career, Young was around 290 pounds and still very agile. As he has advanced and put on extra weight, however, he has seen less time in the field, splitting his time almost evenly in 2005.

"I thought of him when I first saw Kyle Blanks," said Padres farm coordinator Bill Bryk, who was with the Pirates when they originally drafted Young out of high school in the 31st round in 1999. "He was a good athlete for his size, and he loves to play."

Baltimore acquired Young before the 2004 season. He was designated for assignment earlier this week when the Orioles signed free agent Kevin Millar. With the acquisition, the Padres have one remaining spot on their 40-man roster.

MadFriars Top Stories