By HOWARD FENDRICH
Associated Press Sports
Updated: 5:01 p.m. ET July 26, 2007
WASHINGTON (AP) -Dmitri Young and the Washington Nationals were on the verge of a $10 million, two-year contract extension Thursday.
Young would earn $5 million each in 2008 and 2009, and the contract also would contain a $6 million option for 2010 that would become guaranteed if he has 500 plate appearances in 2009 or 900 combined in 2008 and 2009.
Details of the deal were provided by a person familiar with the talks who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no announcements were authorized.
The deal would cap a remarkable turnaround for Young, who was out of baseball at the end of 2006 after being released by the Detroit Tigers with less than a month left in the regular season.
That was only one part of Young's troublesome year, which included an assault charge, treatment for alcoholism and depression, and being hospitalized for diabetes.
But given another chance by Nationals general manager Jim Bowden - they go back to their days together with the Cincinnati Reds - Young signed a non-guaranteed, minor league deal with Washington in February.
He made the team as the starting first baseman in place of the injured Nick Johnson and turned out to be the last-place Nationals' top hitter and lone All-Star representative.
After going 2-for-4 with a run-scoring single in a 7-6 victory at the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday, Young leads Washington with a .333 batting average and 53 RBIs.
MLB.com and ESPN.com first reported Thursday that the team and Young were close to a deal.
Bowden did not respond to e-mailed requests for comment.
Young, who turns 34 in October, is with his fourth club in a major league career that began in 1996. He also was an All-Star in 2003 with Detroit.
He would represent the second veteran player recently given a two-year extension by the rebuilding Nationals. Infielder Ronnie Belliard - like Young, in his 30s and someone who joined the team in February with a minor league contract - agreed to a $3.5 million deal through 2009.
Belliard, now the starting second baseman, is second on the club with a .301 batting average.