Young back with Nationals
Almost two weeks after he opted out of his contract and was given his unconditional release, right-hander Chris Young has returned to the Nationals, signing a Minor League contract on Thursday afternoon. He does not have an opt-out clause in his contract this time around.
Manager Davey Johnson announced that if the Nationals needed an emergency starter, Young will be the first person they call on. Before Thursday, left-hander Zach Duke was the emergency starter. He will remain as the long man in the bullpen.
Young originally signed a Minor League contract with Washington on Feb. 21 before allowing four runs in 16 innings during the exhibition season.
“I think he looked a lot like Chris Young. His velocity was down a tick but he’s not a velocity guy,” Rizzo said. “He was starting to get the touch and feel of his fastball and starting to get that zone he has to pitch in which is a little unique for right-handed pitchers. He has to pitch a little up in the zone, but not too far up in the zone. So he was starting to get the touch and feel for where his spot has to be.”
Young will go to Viera, Fla., to get stretched out and then play for Triple A Syracuse soon thereafter. General manager Rizzo said it will take about 10 to 12 days before he reports to Syracuse.
“I like him,” Johnson said about Young. “He threw the ball well this spring. He pitched really well. A competitor. He is great insurance.”
Johnson said he was surprised no team picked up Young considering the spring he had with Washington. After recovering from shoulder surgery last season, Young started 20 games for the Mets in 2013, going 4-9 with a 4.15 ERA. Young ended season strong, posting a 2.73 ERA in five September starts.
“He had a good spring for us. It was probably late in [Spring Training]. A lot of clubs are going with the young guys,” Johnson said.
During his brief time with the Nationals, Young talked about how much he enjoyed playing with the Nationals.
“They have been unbelievable,” Young said about the Nationals. “This is a first-class organization from top to bottom. There is not a bad thing I can say about this place. They have done it right the whole time.”