Saturday, August 8, 2009

Don't expect Young back this year


Chris Young's season likely is over.

Padres general manager Kevin Towers said tonight it doesn't make sense to bring back Young this year. A shoulder impingement has plagued Young for more than two months, and the pitcher said it's still a vexing condition.

"We want Chris to take as much time as he needs, and get him right in 2010," Towers said from Texas, where he is scouting Double-A players.

Young, described by teammates as hyper-competitive, has bulled his way back from injuries, such as the fractured nose/cracked skull he suffered last year and an oblique strain in 2007.

But he's not going to push it this time.

"I know going forward I will be 100-percent healthy the next time I go on the mound," said Young, who last pitched on June 14.

Young said he's not 100 percent. To resume normal activities, let alone pitching, he said it might take up to another six weeks to be 100 percent. Then, a lengthy rehab would be needed.

"Given where we are in the standings, I don't know if it would be worth the risk of pushing that," Young said.

Young said the consensus medical opinion is he has a "classic shoulder impingement" and "it just takes time to heal."

Surgery hasn't been ruled out, though, pending further rest. "Everything I've been told is that (surgery) would be very minor," the pitcher said.

Described by Towers as the No. 1 leader among Padres players, Young is still contributing to the Padres behind the scenes. Rookie pitcher Mat Latos lockers next to him and describes him as a key mentor. Young began counseling Latos in spring training and predicted in March that Latos would help the Padres this year.

Both Towers and Young said it's critical that Young (4-6, 5.21 ERA) regain full strength and flexibility, so that he can regain the life on his fastball. His velocity was down this year and for several outings in 2008.

"When there is no pain, I'll pitch," Young said. "I have been hopeful it would be at some point this year. I didn't expect this to linger like it has. But I can't control that. It's been more frustrating than last year. Last year, there was a set timetable. This is so indefinite and ambiguous. It's been frustrating."

Young also suggested he may have "tinkered" with his delivery to compensate for the impingement.

That's a road he's determined not to revisit.

The right-hander is guaranteed $6.25 million next year as part of a five-year deal that includes an $8.5 million club option for 2011. Contracts of such magnitude tend to be insured, potentially allowing the Padres to recoup a portion of the $4.5 million salary this year.

Young owns the Padres' only postseason victory this decade -- a scoreless outing at St. Louis in the 2006 playoffs.

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