Chris Young gets the start Tuesday night in Washington for the Mets, his first start since undergoing shoulder surgery. What should we expect from him? Well, it probably is a good idea to keep expectations low.
Young is attempting to come back from the same procedure Johan Santana had. It took Santana a year and a half to make it back to a major league mound; Young is attempting to do it in a little more than a year.
He pitched reasonably well in his four rehab games, throwing 23 innings for a 2.35 ERA. Never a big strikeout pitcher, Young managed to whiff just nine minor leaguers.
Young will be on a severe pitch count — around 85, according to Terry Collins.
All of this points to a long road back, a road on which Young is still traveling. Even he admits it won’t be easy.
“Obviously, my arm is not like it was when I was 25, and I can’t expect it to be,” he told Newsday. “But I know how to pitch. I’m going to be prepared and confident going out on the mound. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think that I could get major-league hitters out. That’s the expectation and the goal.”
Knowing how to pitch will be crucial for Young. Like Santana, his velocity is reported to be way down. Santana has been able to overcome that by being smart and knowing what he is doing on the mound.
Young, a Princeton guy, is said to be very smart. Let’s hope so. But even with the brains it would be wise not to expect too much from Young. Certainly he was a good pitcher before the rash of injuries hit, but even at his best he was never even close to being a Johan Santana.