PHOENIX -- Considering that Chris Young landed on the disabled list before his first plate appearance with the Mets, the outfielder considers Friday his real season debut.
"I'm definitely not counting that first one," Young said Wednesday, after joining his teammates in Arizona for the plane ride back east. "It's tough to sit there and watch ballgames and not be able to get out there and participate."
Rehabbing in Port St. Lucie, Fla., Young learned how to program his iPad to watch Mets games, which is one of the only things that kept him sane. Straining his right quad on one of the first defensive plays of the season, Young wanted only to begin helping the Mets as soon as possible. But he is not eligible to return from the disabled list until Friday.
When the team activates him before that game against the Braves, Young should be able to contribute immediately. He was on fire throughout his rehab assignment with Triple-A Las Vegas, finishing 8-for-12 with two home runs in three games.
"I felt pretty good, but it wasn't so much about the hitting," Young said. "It was more about getting my leg right, getting comfortable running the bases again. When you pull a muscle, it's still a small adjustment period you have to go through to get comfortable with running again and being comfortable pushing yourself. That was really the main thing I was working on, and it got better every day."
To make room for Young, the Mets will most likely clear roster space by demoting one of the extra outfielders on their roster -- Kirk Nieuwenhuis or Andrew Brown. General manager Sandy Alderson did not dismiss the possibility of demoting first baseman Ike Davis instead, thereby clearing up the team's logjam at that position. But that remains a long shot at this point.