SEATTLE -- Right-hander Chris Young started Spring Training with the Nationals, but they released him toward the end of the Grapefruit League season before signing with the Mariners. Young is having a productive season for Seattle, going 12-6 with a 3.17 ERA. He is scheduled to pitch on Monday against the Athletics.
To Young, there is only one reason he is having his best season since 2006. He is healthy. It was June of 2013 when doctors finally figured out why Young was having problems staying healthy. After he went on the disabled list at Triple-A Syracuse, Nationals medical director Wiemi Douoguih and the Syracuse medical staff believed Young did not have a shoulder problem after all. They had Young go to a neck specialist in St. Louis, and it was revealed he had thoracic outlet syndrome.
Young laughed with relief when the doctor went over the symptoms that he had. He had a pinched nerve in his neck, and that injury would cause pain in his shoulder. He would have surgery in his neck to fix the problem. He is now aggressive with his fastball and mixes in his breaking ball.
"I'm just healthy, that's it," Young said. "When I'm healthy, I have a pretty good track record. I had surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. Since then, I've felt good, been healthy and have been able to take the ball."
Young said he appreciates the opportunity the Nationals gave him to showcase his talent during Spring Training.
"I met a lot of great people over there. I had a great experience. I think highly of the people on the other the side," Young said.
Young now finds himself in the in the middle of the Wild Card race. The Mariners entered Sunday 1 1/2 games behind the Royals and Tigers for the final Wild Card spot. Talking to Young, it's obvious he is enjoying his time in Seattle.
"They are a great group of guys," Young said. "The guys in here -- coaching staff, front office and players -- it's a great organization. I've had a tremendous experience here. The chemistry is as good as anywhere I've played. I think it keeps everybody in check. We go out and play the game the right way. We play hard and the talent kind of takes over."
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.