VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals right-hander Chris Young pitched his first game of the spring and allowed two unearned runs in two innings in a Minor League intrasquad game at Space Coast Stadium on Monday afternoon. Young struck out one batter and walked none. He threw 41 pitches, 26 strikes.
Besides the fastball, Young was able to throw sliders and changeups. His next start will be on Saturday against the Marlins.
"There were some [sliders] that were good and a couple that didn't have the finish that I like," Young said. "When the arm strength comes, the fastball command gets better, you get the feel for the release point and everything comes off that. Then it gets easier to get the feel for those pitches."
For Young, it was refreshing to take the mound without any worries about his shoulder, which has given him problems over the years. Last year at this time, he was recovering from shoulder surgery. He started 20 games for the Mets, going 4-9 with a 4.15 ERA. Young ended season strong, posting a 2.73 ERA in five September starts.
"You lose track, sometimes, of where you've been and what I've gone through. From a competitive standpoint, I want to pick up where I left off," Young said. "At the end of last season, I finished really strong. That's on my mind. I want to build on that. You come out, you are not as sharp as you would like. The arm strength is still building, it takes time.
"But perspective of where I've been and the rehab; at this point last year, I wasn't throwing off the mound yet. It's a night-and-day difference. But I'm not satisfied. I want to get back to being as good as I can be. Sometimes, it's good to remind yourself of that, but at the same time, as a competitor, you have expectations to be sharp and be locked in right away. It's probably not realistic."
In other news, the Nationals have signed outfielder Jason Michaels as a player/hitting coach for the team's Minor League system. For now, it's just for Spring Training, according to general manager Mike Rizzo.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.