Young is the stopgap backstop

Young is emergency catcher

PHOENIX -- With starter Russell Martin, the Dodgers barely need a backup catcher, as Mike Lieberthal learned last year and Gary Bennett (he's yet to play) is learning this season.

But in a worst-case scenario, every club needs an emergency catcher and the leading candidate this year is Delwyn Young, because he's the only candidate.

He's the only position player who has volunteered to warm up pitchers between innings and has begun working with bullpen catchers Mike Borzello and Rob Flippo on basic techniques.

"I hope that emergency doesn't come," said Young. "I haven't caught since high school. But they've asked me to work on it and if it might happen, I want to learn something about it. I don't know how comfortable the pitchers would be throwing to me, but it's never bad to learn a new position."

That was Young's attitude three years ago when club officials suggested he start taking fly balls in the outfield. He wound up reaching the Major Leagues as an outfielder.

Manager Joe Torre said he's used an emergency catcher as recently as last year with the Yankees, when he had utilityman Josh Phelps behind the plate for one game.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.