VIERA, Fla. - Zach Walters just crushed his second homer in as many games, a deep shot out to right-center that gave the Nationals the lead in the bottom of the eighth.
Carlos Rivero added an RBI single later in the inning, giving the Nats an 8-6 lead going to the ninth.
Given Chris Young's line today in his spring debut (3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 BBs, 2 Ks), his description of his outing seems pretty apt.
"Erratic," Young said. "I'd say that it was just a little out of sync, but physically I felt fine. Shoulder felt really good. Felt good, everything physically, just the mechanics are a work in progress. I'd throw three good pitches and then four bad ones, so it's just not the consistency that I'd like. But that's what spring training's for.
"Yeah, it's pretty consistent with where I am every spring of my career. It just takes a little time to lock in mechanically, and by the end of spring, it comes around."
Young had two four-pitch walks today and got hit around at times, but looked solid at other points. The issue, he said, was not being able to consistently repeat his delivery, something that is tough for any pitcher early in spring, much less a guy who is 6-foot-10 and has more room for mechanical flaws.
"Just release point and fastball command," Young said. "You're out there getting a feel while competing, and for me, for whatever reason, it's always been a little challenging early in spring and as spring progresses, it just gets better and better and by then, I'm normally where I want to be."
Young worked out of a jam in the first and then struck out two in a fairly clean second, but he struggled in his third inning of work, giving up two hits - including a two-run homer to Joe Mahoney - and a walk.
Despite the fact that he ended up throwing 52 pitches today in his first Grapefruit League start of spring, Young said fatigue wasn't a factor in the third.
"I felt good, but I think my location wasn't as good as it could be," Young said. "But that was true with some pitches in the first and some pitches in the second, too. Just part of the gradual build-up."
In the regular season, you hear pitchers lament falling behind in the count. Even though it's just spring training and the results don't matter, you hear that in spring training, as well.
"It's the same thing - you want to get ahead," Young said. "It's hard to work on things, bring other pitches around, when you can't locate your fastball, and I didn't do a very good job of that today. It's something I'll continue to work on, but it'll come. I'm not worried about it. I wouldn't say I traditionally have been a wild pitcher, it just comes with time. This is my first spring training outing. It's a work in progress. It'll be there."
Update: That's the ballgame. Jeremy Accardo allows a run in the ninth but closes it out, and the Nats win 8-7.