Young acknowledges slow start for Nationals

VIERA, Fla. -- Right-hander Chris Young made his first official start for the Nationals on Saturday afternoon, pitching three innings and allowing three runs on three hits in an 8-7 victory over the Marlins. He threw 50 pitches, 26 for strikes.

Young got off to a slow start by throwing five straight balls, but he settled down and prevented the Marlins from scoring in the first by inducing Matt Downs to hit into a double play, while Joe Mahoney grounded out to Young to end the inning.

However, Miami was able to score three runs off Young in the third inning. Mahoney highlighted the scoring with a two-run homer.

After the game, Young said he was erratic on the mound and not at full strength. Young pointed out that he always gets off to a slow start every spring, but expects to get better by the end of the exhibition season. He will not worry about the results until the end of Spring Training. Young is replacing left-hander Ross Detwiler, who is playing in the World Baseball Classic for Team USA.

"I was a little out of sync," Young said. "The shoulder felt really good. ... The mechanics are a work in progress. I threw three good pitches and four bad ones. It's not the consistency I would like. That's what Spring Training is for. It's pretty consistent for where I am. Every spring in my career, it takes a little time."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for 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.