KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Chris Young gave up one unearned run over four innings and pitched what was likely his last start in a Nationals uniform as the Astros rallied with a five-run seventh inning to beat the Nats 6-4 at Osceola County Stadium.
The right-hander said he has already filed paperwork to opt-out of his Minor League deal, which would make him a free agent. Young said he has had offers from other teams.
Young started four games for the Nationals this spring and gave up four earned runs and 11 hits in 16 innings. He was signed to provide insurance in case something happened to one of the other starters.
“He pitched another great ballgame and he has had a heck of a spring for us,” said Nats Manager Davey Johnson. “I’m sure he’ll probably get a job somewhere. The ball is in his court but he certainly pitched very good this spring.”
The Nationals have 24 hours to let Young know if he is going to make the 25-man roster. However, with the rotation already set, Young and the club have not talked about him working out of the bullpen.
“I’m realistic that the roster is full,” Young said. “I understand that. We’ve talked about maybe trying to work something out to where I can stay. We’re not there right now.”
Young reiterated his desire to stay with the team, if possible, and said he loved the way the organization and his teammates treat him.
“There is nothing negative to say about this place, maybe that they have 15 pitchers deep,” he said laughing. “Other than that, I’d like to work something out if I can be here, but if not, I understand the circumstances. There are five great starters here and I realize there is not a spot at this point.”
Young has had to pitch the entire spring with the weight of not knowing how this will all play out for him before tomorrow. And while he says he has tried to focus solely on pitching and trying to get ready for the season, it’s not been easy.
“I don’t like to admit that but it has. It’s just a different circumstance and situation that I have been in than in the past in my career, but it is what it is and so I’ve probably spent too much time going through different scenarios and ways it’s going to work out.”
Johnson said the reason Young only went four innings was so he could get to see some of the other pitchers that needed work.
Henry Rodriguez replaced Young to start the fifth inning, and began throwing seven straight balls. Then he settled down and struck out two in his one inning.
Craig Stammen started the sixth and gave up a walk, a single and then hit a batter. With the bases loaded and one out, he was able to get out of the inning without giving up a run.
In the seventh, he was not as fortunate. With the Nats leading 4-1, Stammen gave up three straight singles to load the bases with no one out. Then, Jonathan Singleton tripled home all three runners to tie the game at 4-all. Trevor Crowe then singled home the go-ahead run.
Drew Storen replaced Stammen and gave up an RBI double to Matt Dominquez. Stammen last pitched on Thursday last week, and he didn’t seem too concerned about having a bad inning.
“Yea, just because of the schedule and getting out of innings quickly,” Stammen said. “So, I was throwing the ball very good for the last two weeks and I’ve had two rough outings this spring and they have not been just rough, they have been a lot rough. I’m glad it happened now and not in two weeks.”
Nats and fish
The Nationals and Marlins will battle Tuesday afternoon at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter with Dan Haren scheduled to pitch for the Nats against Henderdson Alvarez.