Chris Young is not ready to retire from baseball just yet.
At age 34, and following several injury-plagued seasons, the former Highland Park High School standout will open the season in the starting rotation for the Seattle Mariners, who signed him yesterday.
The right-handed pitcher, who is one of the tallest players in MLB history at 6-foot-10, made the All-Star game as a member of the San Diego Padres in 2007. But he hasn’t pitched a full season in the big leagues since 2008 thanks to a variety of injuries.
Young has dealt with a variety of shoulder ailments in recent years, including last year, when he played in the minor leagues in the Washington Nationals organization before heading to the disabled list.
After a fresh diagnosis and offseason surgery, he signed another minor-league deal with the Nationals. He pitched well but was released earlier this week, clearing the way for the Mariners, who have suffered some injuries to their pitching staff.
“I feel completely different,” Young recently told the Washington Post. “I’ve battled shoulder stuff for really the last five years, and last year when they finally said this isn’t your shoulder, this is a nerve issue, thoracic outlet syndrome, my shoulder feels like it did five, six years ago. I’m really excited about it. I expect it to stay that way. It’s the best it’s felt in a long time. I want to get back to being the pitcher I can be.”
Young has 53 victories and 755 strikeouts in his MLB career, which includes stints with the Texas Rangers, Padres and New York Mets. He was a two-sport standout in baseball and basketball both at Highland Park and Princeton University.