"I'm so happy for the guy," said Padres outfielder Tony Gwynn. "I watched what he has gone through with injuries and from pitching an unbelievable game in Arizona [in April] to being on the DL. He works so hard.
"It was really fulfilling for everyone in the dugout to see him out there pitching."
Young allowed one run in four innings Saturday, throwing 69 pitches (41 strikes) in his first start in a Major League game since April 6, when he tossed six shutout innings in Arizona.
Young went on the disabled list the following week. He had a rough rehab start in May for Double-A San Antonio, walking four and allowing five runs in two-thirds of an inning. He returned to San Diego frustrated.
"I just want answers," Young said at the time.
It turns out he just needed time. Beginning in August, Young made the first of three rehab starts, the last coming on Sept. 11 for Class A Lake Elsinore. When he emerged from that start healthy and showing good command, the Padres made the decision to let him start Saturday's game.
Gwynn said Young looked anxious to get back on the mound.
"He was pacing up and down in the clubhouse," Gwynn said.
The adrenaline, Young admitted afterward, got the best of him and maybe even sapped him of energy in the fourth inning. But, as he said, this was understandable.
"I don't remember the last time I pitched with that much adrenaline. I could feel my heart beating in my chest," Young said. "I never felt like I got into that calm rhythm. I was so excited. That probably impacted me more than I would have liked."
Young, who walked three, struck out three and allowed three hits, threw mostly fastballs early in the game, hitting 86 mph on the radar gun several times. That was by design, he said, wanting to "set the tone. I wanted to make sure that I established the inside corner."
Young said his wife, Liz, and their two young children were in attendance on Saturday and they got some face time on the national broadcast by FOX.
After the game, Young thanked his wife for her support and everyone else who helped him get healthy and back on the mound again.
"Packing it in was never an option," Young said recently. "This has been an emotional and physical roller-coaster, but the goal was always the same. It wasn't just me doing this. So many people were involved, including the trainers, teammates, fans who walked past me on the street and wished me good luck."
San Diego manager Bud Black said he wanted to see how Young was feeling before he made a decision on whether he would get another start next week.