Devil Rays prospect Delmon Young said yesterday that critical statements he made about the organization for not promoting him to the majors this month were not aimed at players on the last-place team.

"I never meant any disrespect to the Devil Ray players. I have nothing but the highest respect for these guys and I know how hard they have worked to get there," Young, 19, said in a statement.

"I am just so frustrated that the team would not give me the opportunity to play with and against the best players in the game, so that I could continue to learn and develop in the major league environment."

Young, the brother of Detroit's Dmitri Young, was named Baseball America's minor league player of the year this week, and during a conference call with reporters he expressed unhappiness over not being promoted at the end of his season.

Asked why he felt he was not called up, Young replied: "The only thing I can think of is they're being cheap."

Young said some of his remarks had been "twisted" in a way that distorts what he was trying to say.

"I never said that I would step right in and take anyone's job. I feel that I earned the right to be called up in September along with a hundred or so other players around the league," he said.

Young hit .336 with 20 homers and 71 RBI in 84 games at Class AA Montgomery and .285 with six homers and 28 RBI in 52 games at Class AAA Durham.

Young remains upset over what he described as a lack of communication from the Devil Rays, whom he said never talked to him about why he was not promoted.

Devil Rays GM Chuck LaMar has said the team did have discussions with Young on the matter. The player's agent, Arn Tellem, disputed that contention.

"I was surprised and troubled by Chuck LaMar's comments this week," Tellum said.

"In one comment he says he should have handled the situation better and in the same breath he makes up stories about phantom meetings."

* PERCIVAL HOPES FOR BEST: Tigers RHP Troy Percival will know soon if he can come back next season or if his career is over.

Percival, 35, has been sidelined since July 10 because of a muscle tear in his right forearm. The 11-year veteran, who recorded all but eight of his 324 career saves with the Angels before joining Detroit as a free agent last winter, will meet with Angels team physician Lewis Yocum today.

-- From News Services