SAN DIEGO -- Chris Young took a big step toward his return by throwing a bullpen session Saturday afternoon.
The last time the right-hander was on a mound was May 21, when he was hit in the face by a line drive off the bat of Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols. Young suffered a broken nose and has been on the disabled list since.
Young is scheduled to have surgery to repair his septum June 30 and said it's possible he will return to the Padres after the All-Star break, but that is uncertain given that he's in unfamiliar territory.
"It would be hard for me to say. Hopefully there won't be any complications from surgery in any respect," Young said. "I think it is a pretty easy procedure from what I understand. In the meantime, in the next nine days, I'll try to get my body in the best possible shape."
Manager Bud Black is equally cautious and projected a late July to early August return for Young.
"He was throwing the ball very well today in the bullpen," Black said. "That is very encouraging. That is a great sign."
Young threw 40 pitches Saturday that included a full complement of fastballs, curves and sliders while working from the stretch and windup. He said he will continue throwing from the mound until the surgery.
From there, he is expected to be out 4-7 days for recovery, after which he will be able to resume full physical activity. Young said he expects to need at least another 5-6 days throwing from a mound after that before he begins a rehab assignment.
How many starts he needs during his rehab has not been determined, but Young and Black agree that his arm is currently ahead of his overall conditioning. Building his stamina to withstand the pressure of delivering the 100 or so pitches necessary to make a big league start presents the bigger challenge.
"My legs felt good. It is really just my wind. I can't breathe right now," Young said. "I fatigue quickly from that. I'm breathing heavy. My arm feels good and my legs feel good. Those are two important parts to the puzzle."
Young was 4-4 with a 4.50 ERA in 10 starts this season before the injury and said he's not going to push his return.
"I am very encouraged. I want to come back and have a strong second half and help this team win," Young said. "We're not out of it by any means. Recently, we've shown signs that when we play well, we can compete with other teams in this division."
Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.