Young set for long-awaited return to mound

Young set for long-awaited return to mound

Young set for long-awaited return to mound
NEW YORK -- Chris Young was back in New York on Monday, preparing to make his first Major League start in over 13 months on Tuesday against the Nationals.

The 33-year-old right-hander is returning from shoulder surgery that has kept him out since May 1, 2011.

"I'd say just going in, there was just so much unknown, and there still is," Young said. "There's been so much hard work, a lot of time, commitment and dedication. If that's what makes it smooth, then you can call it that, but I wouldn't say its been easy, and I don't expect it to continue to be."

Manager Terry Collins will hold Young to a similar pitch count as his last rehab start at Triple-A Buffalo, which was around 90 pitches. Young said he felt comfortable throwing that amount in his start on Thursday, and he thinks he can even stretch it a little further on Tuesday. Young threw six scoreless innings and allowed just two hits in the outing.

"I went to Buffalo and I felt good," Young said. "The results were good. The swings, to me, indicated that I could pitch at the next level. To me, that's what I really wanted to see."

Young and his wife, who is expecting a child any day, watched Johan Santana pitch his no-hitter on Friday from their home. Santana is also recovering from shoulder surgery.

"We've had good conversations along the rehab process, and he's always been encouraging and saying, 'Hey, it's going to happen, you'll get there,'" Young said. "To see him going out and having the results and the success, it's inspirational."

Young said he might get emotional after his first start back, as the former All-Star wasn't sure if he'd ever pitch again in the Majors. The doctors told Young he'd be pitching at the big league level again in a year, and the recovery time has been right in line.

"Obviously, my arm is not like it was when I was 25, and I can't expect it to be, but I know how to pitch," Young said. "I'm going to be as prepared and confident going out on the mound. Hopefully that stuff will help, and the results will take care of themselves. I wouldn't be here if I didn't think I could get Major League hitters out."