SAN DIEGO – Padres right-hander Chris Young threw another simulated game Thursday, and a rehab assignment might be next as he continues to work his way back from a shoulder injury.
Motivated by San Diego's run atop the NL West, the 6-foot-10 Young hopes to pitch again this season. He made one start before going on the disabled list April 12 with a strained shoulder. He underwent surgery on the shoulder a year ago.
"It's definitely my goal, not just to pitch, but to be successful and win," said Young, who's had a serious injury for three straight seasons. "Certainly I'm not trying to get ahead of myself. There's still some tests, but I wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't my goal. It would be easy to shut it down and say I'll strengthen it and worry about pitching later, but that's not the case. I want to pitch, I want to win, I want to help this team make a strong run here. I feel if things keep going according to plan, I'm capable of that."
Young threw 55 pitches over three innings before the Padres hosted the last-place Arizona Diamondbacks in a series finale.
"It felt better as I went," he said. "It's nice to focus on how I feel and stuff versus what my arm's doing."
Young said he got a little distracted when a singer started rehearsing the national anthem.
"I don't know if it was a physical thing as much as maybe a mental focus thing, just the environment. It felt like early in the morning. You know, national anthem being played, first hitter. Definitely the second two innings felt better than the first."
Padres manager Bud Black said Young looked better than he did when he threw a simulated game in Milwaukee on Saturday.
"As he got into it he threw the ball better," Black said. "It was progress from in Milwaukee to have him sit down for another inning. His last 30 pitches were better than the first 25."
Young says he'll discuss the next step with the coaching and medical staffs.
"There will be a next step," he said. "Everything went well with it. My guess is it's going to be a rehab start but I'm not positive on that. I think it would probably be good to be in a game environment next."
There's probably enough time left in the minor league season for Young to make two rehab starts.
Young was an All-Star in 2007, when he finished 9-8 with a 3.12 ERA and a career-high 167 strikeouts in 173 innings.
On May 21, 2008, he was hit in the face with Albert Pujols' line drive, breaking his nose and fracturing his skull. He returned nine weeks later. He spent time on the disabled list that August with a strained right forearm before returning for the final month. Young took a perfect game into the eighth inning at Milwaukee that Sept. 7 before giving up a home run to Gabe Kapler in a 10-1 Padres win.
Young made 14 starts last year before missing the second half with a strained right shoulder.
He said he's been motivated watching his teammates hold the division lead for most of the season when most outsiders figured there was no way the Padres would contend.
"I've put in a lot of work and sweat, and there have been a lot of tears to get where I am," he said. "Certainly there's a goal in mind and I'm working toward that. I'm hopeful it'll happen, but I can't get ahead of myself."