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Young looks good in return to mound

Young looks good in return to mound

PEORIA, Ariz. -- When Chris Young climbed atop the mound on Thursday, the first time he had done so in a game in almost nine months, he was aware that containing his emotions might be easier said than done.

As it turned out, he was right.

"Being in a game situation for the first time since June ... there was some nervous energy there. I expected there to be. I tried to temper the excitement," Young said. "But by the time the first hitter steps in, the competitiveness takes over."

That meant some command issues but little else to worry about on a sun-splashed day, as the right-hander allowed one run on three hits during his one inning of work that spanned 33 pitches in the Padres' 9-3 loss to the Mariners in Peoria.

Young, who had exploratory surgery on his right shoulder in August, was encouraged about the way the ball came out of his hand and that he got a few swings and misses on pitches up in the strike zone, where he typically fares the best when he's going good.

"Physically, I felt good. I wasn't happy with my command, but I think part of that was the nerves and the adrenaline of being back out there," Young said. "I had to dial it back the last couple of hitters."

Young allowed a double to Eric Byrnes on a fastball up in the strike zone and a single to Ryan Garko in the first inning that scored a run. He allowed another hit, a walk and then struck out Ryan Langerhans on a high fastball before getting former Padres catcher Josh Bard looking at a called third strike on a slider.

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"I thought he threw the ball fine. What we were looking for was the delivery and the arm action," Padres manager Bud Black said. "I think we saw the things he was looking for."

Young was scheduled to throw 30 or so pitches or two innings. His next start will likely see him throw upward of 45 pitches. Young topped out at 88 mph, though he wasn't as much concerned about velocity as he was how he felt.

"Not just healthy but how the ball came out of my hand. It felt like the fastball had good life. The life is there, which I'm happy about," Young said. "The command will come with a little bit of time."

Young, who, along with Kevin Correia and Jon Garland, is a candidate to pitch Opening Day on April 5, has found motivation is regaining the form that he had in the first half of 2007, when he made the All-Star team.

"I feel like I have something to prove," Young said.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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