Mariners pin hopes on Young in rare trip to Miami

( - Seattle's Chris Young was as sharp as could be expected during his first start in the majors in 19 months, and he'll look to build on that milestone outing Friday in Miami when the Mariners open a three-game series against the Marlins..

This is Seattle's first trip to Miami since 2008 and its first-ever visit to Marlins Park.

Young, who missed all of last year with persistent shoulder issues, tossed six scoreless innings while giving up only four singles against Oakland on Sunday in his home debut with the Mariners. He also tossed a pair of scoreless innings in relief a week earlier. The 6-foot-10 right-hander, who signed a one-year deal with Seattle after being released by Washington at the end of spring training, said he finally feels healthy.

"I feel like I can throw the ball better," he said. "I feel like the three walks were too many but ultimately I competed and made pitches when I had to. For a first start it's not bad but certainly I want to build on it. I want to continue to build arm strength and command and better feel for my offspeed pitches but ultimately it's about competing and putting up zeros. That's my goal every time out -- that you want to feel as good as you possibly can while doing so."

Young, who pitched in the NL East for the Mets two years ago, is 3-1 with a 2.62 ERA in six career starts against Miami.

Hard-throwing right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will toe the rubber for Miami against a team he has never faced. Eovaldi has been solid in his last two starts, although the Marlins wound up losing both of those games.

Against Philadelphia his last time out, Eovaldi gave up four runs in his first three innings before settling down to retire 11 straight batters. He went 6 1/3 innings with five strikeouts, and his last pitch reached 98 mph.

"The first few innings, I was up in the zone, mostly," Eovaldi said. "The hits they were getting were pitches up and in the middle. I really wasn't locating too well. Not too many first-pitch strikes. But after the third inning, I finally started to settle down, locating the pitches down. I was moving it in and out, mixing the off-speed pitches."

Miami enters Friday's game with losses in nine of its last 10. The Marlins were off Thursday after suffering a 6-3 setback to Washington a day earlier. Derek Dietrich hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning, but Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth returned the favor with a three-run shot in the sixth, and Washington tacked on three more runs in the eighth.

Seattle has also struggled of late with losses in five of its last six. Robinson Cano provided a bit of return on the team's $240 million investment by hitting his first home run as a Mariner as part of a six-run third inning. However, the M's were blanked the rest of the way as Texas went on to claim an 8-6 victory.

Miami holds a 5-4 edge in the all-time series.