San Diego Padres’ ageless right-handed pitcher, Chris Young, started Tuesday’s game vs. the Kansas City Royals. The Padres reacquired not one, but two pitchers this winter who were formerly MLB all-star’s with the team.
Young was an all-star in 2007 and Tyson Ross an all-star in 2014. Both signed minor league deals, with invitations to spring training and a chance to join the rotation if they perform. In Young’s first start this spring, he recorded four strikeouts and allowed one run on three hits in three innings pitched, the run coming off a solo home run by Cheslor Cuthbert in the third inning. Overall, a solid first start for the big man.
Young was named American League Comeback Player of the Year in 2014 and won a World Series ring with the Royals in 2015. Over the past two seasons, which included a 2016 core repair surgery, he was touched for a 6.52 ERA and 35 home runs in 118 2/3 innings, with a WHIP of 1.75. The Royals released him in June.
“It’s a matter of giving Chris a start in camp so he can compete in that starting capacity. Perdomo has done that already and we wanted to give Chris that same opportunity.” – Andy Green on Chris Young’s start Tuesday.
Young said recently when questioned about retirement. “I’ll be the one to decide when I’m done. I’m pretty excited about where I am. What they don’t know (is) the competitiveness, the drive, the hunger for me. … It’s going to come to an end at some point. But hopefully that’s a few years away.”
“My wife says I have age dysphoria, that I think I’m a lot younger than I am,” Young said. “She keeps me in tune with how old I truly am. But when I’m in this group, there are certain limitations, but I don’t feel much older than anyone else.”
Tyson Ross had a 2.81 ERA over 195 2/3 innings in 2014. He followed it up with a 3.26 over 196 innings in 2015. Those were two very productive years in a Padre uniform.
In Ross’ first spring start, the righty got five outs to begin his outing, then loaded the bases on a walk, single, and hit batter before getting a strikeout to get out of his second start without allowing a run. Ross is battling his way back from thoracic outlet syndrome after having a difficult year in Texas. He’s competing to get back into San Diego’s rotation in his second stint with the club. In Ross’s first spring training game against the Oakland Athletics, he struck out the side around a solo homer in the first. He threw a lot of pitches and was touched for another run in the second.
“I was just getting back into game situations,” Ross said after working the first two innings of the Padres’ Cactus League game against the Oakland Athletics. “… Overall, it’s good to just be playing baseball. It’s a lot different from live BP’s and bullpens that I’ve been throwing for the last few months. You get in a game situation where you have to react, roll with the punches.”
“I’m prepared this spring,” Ross said. “I had a nice long offseason to do the strength training I needed, get the throwing in. I’m in a good spot physically. Last year, I felt like I was playing catch-up the whole time. It’s hard to do at any level, let alone the big-league level. Right now, I’m physically prepared. Now, I’m just trying to get my reps in, and I’m honing my movement in my pitches, get ready for the season.”
Manager Andy Green has seemed genuinely thrilled with how strong and unfettered Ross has appeared. “Everything looked like it hurt,” Green said. “Through when he was trying to come back and then last year, as well, it didn’t look like it was free. There is freeness to the stroke now that looks better. He’s just got to get on the mound and face hitters and get going. I’m not going to read too much into whatever the results are today. It’s a matter of getting on the mound, executing pitches and feeling good physically. And then we’ll start evaluating.”
Ross and Young are two of seven pitchers in the mix for what might be just one open spot in the starting rotation.