VIERA, Fla. - Because shoulder issues have plagued Chris Young for much of the last few years, it’s been a while since he’s had a normal spring training.
Yesterday, Young took the mound on one of the side fields at the Nationals complex and threw his first live batting practice since signing a minor league deal with the team last week.
That’s something that he hasn’t been able to do this early in spring in recent years, but it was a nice first step toward the veteran right-hander getting in game action, which he’s expected to do March 3. Young wasn’t throwing with full force and he clearly wasn’t as sharp as he expects to be by the time he has a few weeks of consistent throwing under his belt. The vast majority of Young’s pitches yesterday were up in the zone and hittable.
But Young, like nearly all pitchers early in spring, wasn’t focused on the results and took positives from his outing.
“Shoulder felt good,” Young said. “Just being back on a mound facing hitters. Just a starting point, and improve from there.
“Just being out there (was most important) That’s it. You get out there, you start getting the feel and then you start honing in on things. Fastball command is first and foremost. That’s where you start and then you start building from there.”
Young expects to throw a bullpen session tomorrow, setting him up for that March 3 appearance. Young is scheduled to enter in relief of Ross Detwiler, and then could take over Detwiler’s spot in the Nats’ spring rotation when the left-hander leaves for the World Baseball Classic.
“Body feels good,” he said. “I look where I was a year ago, two years ago, and with the arm injury, I feel like that stuff’s behind me. It’s nice to be in a competitive environment and have a normal spring, which is different for me. So I’m very happy from that regard, but there’s a lot of work to be done and a lot of improving to do. Keep at it.”
The Nationals are bringing out nearly all their regulars tonight for MASN’s spring training broadcast debut, with Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper the only two projected opening day starters not in the lineup. The game airs live, beginning at 6 p.m.
Harper had originally been scheduled to play left field and bat third today, but manager Davey Johnson is giving him the day off. Nothing major.
The Mets’ starting lineup for tonight’s game doesn’t feature quite as much talent as the Nationals’. And yes, that’s a bit of an understatement.
Here are the lineups for tonight’s game:
For the Mets
2B Jordany Valdespin
CF Collin Cowgill
RF Mike Baxter
DH Andrew Brown
LF Kirk Nieuwenhuis
C Travis d’Arnaud
1B Brandon Hicks
SS Omar Quintanilla
3B Brian Bixler
P Rafael Montero
For the Nats
CF Denard Span
C Kurt Suzuki
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
LF Tyler Moore
3B Anthony Rendon
DH Chad Tracy
P Stephen Strasburg