By Shannon Drayer
PEORIA, Ariz. – After a whirlwind 72 hours, Chris Young has a new locker in a new clubhouse with a huge jersey in it with the number 53 on the back and Mariners on the front. All’s well that ends well for the newest Mariner, who signed his contract Thursday morning. Turns out the contract wasn’t the only thing he signed.
“Yeah I signed an advance consent. It really was a non-issue,” he said of the document that allows the club to release him for any non-health related reason in the first 45 days of the season. “I always tell myself it is a performance-based game and the club has the right to release you at any point. It’s just a matter of whether your salary is guaranteed for the rest of the season. For me I don’t play for the money. I play because I love the game. The opportunity to be out here and be healthy, I am just super excited to be out there and making the most of the opportunity.”
Young is grateful to be playing at all. A year ago he was ready to call it a career as he was unable to escape shoulder pain that led to numerous stints on the disabled list and two shoulder surgeries. Luckily he ran into a former teammate who thought his symptoms sounded familiar. His hunch was right. Young was suffering from thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS), a nerve condition that can cause pain in the upper limbs. He underwent surgery last June and hasn’t felt the pain since.
“I woke up from surgery and it was the first time in a long time my shoulder didn’t hurt,” he said. “Four weeks later I was throwing a baseball. It wasn’t a lengthy rehab. They don’t repair anything so you don’t have to worry about sort of re-damaging.”
After the surgery a doctor told him that the TOS was most likely responsible for most of the pain and a number of the trips to the DL he had made in the previous five years. Young does not appear to be bitter about losing the time to a something that was tough to diagnose.
“Hindsight is 20/20,” he said. “I’m just grateful it’s been corrected and I look forward to hopefully some healthy years ahead. My shoulder feels like new. It’s exciting for me. I am hopeful there are great things ahead and excited to hopefully make up for some lost time.”
He will make up for that lost time with a team that has not one player that has been a teammate of his during his nine-year career. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t know this team, however.
“I’m a baseball fan so I have watched a lot of Mariners games,” he said. “I’ve seen this club play. I know it is a mix of some young guys and some older guys and I think it is a very exciting team. I’m super excited. I think there is a lot of talent here and I look forward to being a part of it.”
We will get our first look at Young as a Mariner the game against Colorado Saturday.