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Young is pain-free, ready to pitch

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VIERA, Fla. -- Last year, it was believed that right-hander Chris Young would be one of the first pitchers the Nationals would call up to the big leagues if one of the players in the rotation had to go on the disabled list.

But the Nationals never called Young because he missed most of the season with a pinched nerve in his neck. That injury would affect his shoulder as well. Young had nerve problems for at least four years. All that time, he thought it was his right shoulder that was giving him problems. The nerve in his neck was never fixed until last June.

After the season came to an end, Young was able to have an offseason where he just had to build his arm strength.

"After having shoulder surgery in the past, you sort of expect a level of discomfort," Young said. "I was sort of resigned to the fact that my shoulder is not the same that it once was. What I didn't realize was, the problem was never truly corrected. Now I feel great. I'm really excited about it. Hopefully, it will stay that way."

Young wants to show the Nationals that he can be the pitcher that he was several years ago. His best season was in 2006, when he went 11-5 with a 3.46 ERA for the Padres.

"When I'm healthy, I've been successful in this game," he said. "I look forward to [having that success]."

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.

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