PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — Padres pitcher Chris Young fought through a 33-pitch first inning, giving up one run on three hits, and was encouraged after San Diego's 9-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Thursday.
The fact he's getting back what he had before his Aug. 14 shoulder surgery is what was encouraging for Young.
"Being in a game situation for the first time since last June, there was a lot of energy there," said Young, projected as the Padres first or second starter. "I wasn't happy with my command, but I think part of it was the nerves just been out there.
"It was the way the ball came out of my hand. The fastball had good life. I had some swings and misses with my slider."
It was his first outing since June 14, when he began to experience shoulder stiffness. He would have arthroscopic shoulder surgery a month later and miss the rest of the season.
Young said he's not approaching this camp tentatively. He believes he's not restricted.
"Toward the end of December, I kind of turned the corner on that," he said. "I started feeling good. It responded well every time I played catch, every time I had a new intensity to my throwing program. I got over that mental hurdle toward the end of December. Since then, personally, I haven't had any question marks."
Young won only four games for the Padres last season. He would like to find the form that allowed him to reach double digits in wins three years ago.
"I feel like I have something to prove," he added. "I don't want to just go out there and go through the motions. I want to go out there and compete. I want to prove I'm healthy. I want to prove that I'm going to be a successful major league pitcher. That's the goal and today was the first step toward that."
Mariners' starter Jason Vargas, a candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation, went two innings, allowing just one hit.
"I try not to think about anything like that (competition) because there obviously are four of us and you don't ever want to wish anything bad about anyone, especially when they are on your own team," Vargas said. "So just going out there to do your thing to the best of your ability, root for everybody else and let the pieces fall where they fall."
The Mariners broke a 3-3 tie with a six-run eighth inning. The highlight was a grand slam by minor leaguer Tommy Everidge off Padres Radhames Liz.
Ryan Garko also homered for Seattle.