The Nationals made a slight change to Chris Young’s schedule, but the 6-foot-10 right-hander will still make his first start of spring training on March 9, filling in for Ross Detwiler once the lefty heads to Arizona for the World Baseball Classic.
Rather than relieving Detwiler on Sunday, Young will pitch in a minor league ‘B’ game Monday, a day off from Grapefruit League action for the Nationals. That will give Young four days off before he starts at Space Coast Stadium against the Marlins on Saturday.
The Nationals signed Young, 33, to a minor league deal last week. Young can opt out of his contract on March 24, but the Nationals added him to serve as insurance behind their established starting five.
Young threw live batting practice Wednesday, facing Nationals hitter from behind an L-screen. He call the session “a starting point” and said he feels ready to pitch in a spring training game.
“At this point, it’s hard to put a percentage on it,” Young said. “It’s just work. It’s a gradual process. You slowly build up. You try to go at it with a good intensity. But as the games and the competitive situations come along, the intensity increases and you start getting more and more into it.”
Young attended spring training as a Montreal Expos farmhand 10 years ago, and he also pitched for Class A Brevard County in 2003, which called Space Coast Stadium home. From both experiences, he has recognized several familiar faces.
“The transition has been easy,” Young said. “It’s a great group of guys, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know them.”
Detwiler will start Sunday, and then depart to pitch for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic on Monday.