DENVER -- The microscope has focused more sharply on rehabbing pitcher Chris Young this week, now that Mike Pelfrey is almost certainly headed for season-ending elbow surgery. Young has been facing live batters in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and according to manager Terry Collins, could be ready to join New York's rotation by mid- to late-May.
Though Young will not be ready to pitch in extended Spring Training before that season ends, he will appear in simulated games beginning next week and could join Class A St. Lucie shortly thereafter. The Mets also want to see Young, who underwent right anterior shoulder capsule surgery last May, pitch at the upper levels of the Minors before re-joining their roster.
There is still no telling how well Young, 32, will take to live game action, considering he has not completed a full big league season since 2007. But after thriving in four starts for the Mets last April, Young could be a long-term solution for the rotation spot currently belonging to Chris Schwinden.
As for Schwinden, who started Friday in place of Pelfrey, the Mets are committed to giving their 25-year-old right-hander a fair shot at keeping his job. Schwinden held his own during a four-start debut last September, and had been thriving in Triple-A Buffalo's rotation so far this April, posting a 2.05 ERA in four starts.
"He's going to get an extended look," Collins said.