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Will Chris Young go straight to the Mariners’ rotation?

By Shannon Drayer

PEORIA, Ariz. – We learned Thursday morning why manager Lloyd McClendon was hesitant to announce his complete starting five despite the fact that there were only five starters remaining in camp. There was another on the way.

The Mariners announced that they have signed right-hander Chris Young to a major-league deal. Young had been in camp with the Nationals, where reports on him were favorable. He did not make the 25-man roster, however, and opted out of his minor-league deal.

Young, 34, has pitched for three teams in his nine-year big-league career and put up a 53-43 record with a 3.79 ERA. Last year he underwent surgery to repair thoracic outlet syndrome, a nerve issue that puts pressure on a pitcher’s throwing shoulder. He made nine starts in the Nationals’ minor-league system after the surgery but threw only 37 innings.

His spring numbers with the Nationals were good but he only threw 10 1/3 innings. I would assume that he threw in some minor-league games as well – those numbers are not included in spring stats – so I wouldn’t be worried about that. By all appearances he is coming here to start.

My quick thoughts on this: Well, my job just got tougher. He is 6-foot-10. Time to put away the flats and get ready for some teasing, which I have already seen on Twitter.

Seriously though, this is a good move. Regardless of the recent health history, if he is healthy now that is all that matters. The Mariners may only need him for a handful of starts. They may see good things in those starts and have him all year, which would be fantastic as it again would provide depth and add a little needed experience to a young rotation.

Is this an upgrade over Scott Baker or Randy Wolf? Only time will tell, but most likely. Baker didn’t look ready and will start in the minors for the Rangers. Wolf has yet to sign.

We should learn more about the Mariners’ plans for Young in the next day.

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