Chris Young didn’t have time to work on pitches or worry too much about results. His first spring training start as a Mariner would be his only start with the season starting on Monday, and there was work that needed to be done. After signing a free agent contract on Thursday, Young made his debut on the mound in Seattle’s 2-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies at Salt River Field.
His start went about as well as could be expected under the circumstances of switching teams and having made just four appearances with the Washington Nationals in the Grapefruit League before he was released.
“He threw the ball good,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I thought he tired a little bit at the end. But I was pleased with what I saw. But he was the guy that I remembered.”
Young pitched 4 2/3 shutout innings, giving up four hits, striking out two batters and walking none.
“You always want to make a good first impression for sure, but today in part was all about getting my work in and getting my pitch count built up a little bit,” Young said. “I got into some situations where I had to make pitches and tried to treat it as much like as regular season game because that’s what it will be next week.”
While Young worked scoreless innings, they weren’t perfect innings. He had runners reach base in all but one inning of his start. But he made pitches to get out of innings.
“Obviously, you don’t want to be in those situations, but you have to pitch through them,” he said. “It’s just realistic preparation for the season.”
The closest the Rockies came to scoring against Young was in the fourth inning. With runners on second and third and one out, Corey Dickerson ripped a hard liner to right that first baseman Logan Morrison snagged with a leaping grab. Morrison flipped to second base to double off the runner for a double play.
“The fourth inning I lost my rhythm just a little,” he said. “I found it to start the fifth and in the bullpen I had it there too. I was a little frustrated after the fourth that I lost my rhythm from the stretch.”
Young exited with two out sin the fifth inning. He threw “15 to 20” pitches in the bullpen after he was done. He threw 63 pitches in the game.
“I did some things well and I have some things to work on,” he said. “But overall I feel confident with where I am stuff-wise, performance-wise, health-wise and I’m excited for the season to start.”
Young was also very complimentary of catcher Mike Zunino. The two were working together for the first time.
“I couldn’t be more impressed,” Young said. “He did a great job today. He learned what I wanted to do. We got on the same page very quickly. I couldn’t be more impressed with how easy he made it for me today.”
The Mariners officially played pitchers Hisashi Iwakuma (finger strain), Taijuan Walker (shoulder bursitis) and Stephen Pryor (recovery from latissmus dorsi surgery) on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 21.
The team finished Cactus League play with a 17-12-3 record. McClendon was happy with the team’s effort.
“Spring training is spring training so you have to temper your excitement a little bit,” McClendon said. “But I was pleased with the work that we put in. I was impressed with the cohesiveness of this club, their competitive spirit. They are clicking on all cylinders. I think they are ready to go.”