Chris Young Could Be Just What the Doctor Ordered

By Matt Musico

Now that Mike Pelfrey will be sitting out the rest of the year due to Tommy John surgery, it creates an opportunity for Chris Young to enter the rotation once his rehab from right anterior shoulder capsule surgery is complete with a tour through the minor leagues. The 32-year-old right hander has not pitched in a full MLB season since 2007, so the Mets are going to be cautious to make sure that he’s absolutely ready before they insert him back into the rotation.

According to manager Terry Collins, Young has begun facing live hitters in Port St. Lucie, but will not be able to pitch in any extended spring training games before the minor leaguers break camp for the start of their regular season. He will continue his rehab process by

pitching simulation games next week, then head off to Class-A Port St. Lucie for his first game competition since last April. Before joining the Major League club, the organization wants to see Young work his way up into the upper levels of the minors, which they estimate could take him until the middle to the end of May, barring any setbacks.

This late signing by Sandy Alderson could end up being a one of the best moves all season. If he’s able to stay healthy (which is a big if), he’s the perfect solution to stabilize the back end of the Mets rotation for the rest of the season. Chris Schwinden did pitch reasonably well before the fifth inning debacle last night, but I feel he needs some more seasoning in the minor leagues. However, due to his good four-start showing last September, and his solid start in Triple-A Buffalo this season, the organization wants to allow Schwinden a fair shake at taking this rotation spot.

The old adage in baseball is that you can never have enough pitching, and man, it plays a huge role here a month into the regular season. Young is coming off pitching only 24 innings for the Mets last year before he went down with his injury, but they were effective, going 1-0 with a 1.88 ERA and 0.96 WHIP. If he can get healthy and stay healthy, this could be exactly what the Mets were looking for to fill the void that Pelfrey is leaving. I’m sure rumors will fly about acquiring a pitcher via free agency or trade (cough, Roy Oswalt, cough), but with the Mets starting lineup consistently starting 8-9 homegrown players on any given night, the organization will give all of their internal options a chance before they look elsewhere.

I like the potential of bringing Young into the rotation because he gives the team another solid veteran presence, especially to a pitching staff that is reasonably young, outside of Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey. Although his sample size is small (49-34 career record, 775.2 innings pitched), he brings valuable experience and a fresh arm to a pitching dependent team. We will be tracking his progress as he embarks on the comeback trail next week in Class-A ball.

Do you think Young should take Pelfrey’s rotation spot no matter what, or is it Schwinden’s spot to lose?

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