KISSIMEE, Fla. — Following his four-inning start against the Houston Astros Monday night, right-hander Chris Young filed the paper work to opt out of his minor league contract with the Washington Nationals.
The Nationals now have 24 hours to put Young on the active roster and, while that is highly unlikely, Young left the door open that he could work something out to remain with the team. There is interest in him from other clubs, though, and if there is a major league offer out there he will likely take it.
“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.
“There’s interest from other clubs and I just have to weigh all the options and see what’s best for me and my family and my career.”
Young, who looked as sharp as he has all spring in his four innings of work, allowed just two weak hits and an unearned run with one walk. He struck out two. In a normal spring, which the right-hander hasn’t had in some time due to shoulder injuries, he said he’d feel as though he’s right where he’d like to be by this point in spring training.
“He’s had a great spring for us,” said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. “I’m sure he’ll probably get a job somewhere. The ball’s in his court. But he certainly pitched very good this spring.”
The uncertainty surrounding his immediate future, though, has frustrated Young.
“I don’t like to admit that but it has,” Young said. “It’s just a different circumstance and situation than I’ve been in in the past in my career. But it is what it is. I’ve spent probably too much time going through different scenarios and ways it’s going to work out and really the only thing I can control is how I pitch. Ultimately that’s my focus.
“I don’t have any questions about my arm. It’s healthy and it’s only going to get stronger. And the mechanics are only going to get better as the season progresses. It’s just, I’ve got to be somewhere.”
How real a possibility it is for Young to work something out with the Nationals, at this point, is unclear.
Young could not get into specifics when asked if that meant working out something for the major league roster (which would seem next to impossible at this point) or if it referred to working out another minor league deal with a later opt-out clause.
A bullpen role, he said, has not been discussed with him.
“There are different ways to consider some things and I don’t know all the proposals and the scenarios,” he said. “I wouldn’t be right commenting on it, aside from the fact that there could be a possibility of working something out but, at this point, we’re not there yet.”
Young again offered effusive praise for the Nationals and expressed genuine appreciation for his time with them this spring. The only negative he could find, he said, was perhaps that they are too deep with pitching.
“I will say this: I love it here,” he said. “I would love to stay. This has been just a terrific spring training being around a great group of baseball people.”
Young hoped to have a resolution sometime in the next 24 hours.
“I won’t sleep much if I don’t,” he said. “Like I said, I love it here and I feel, in certain ways, I can provide (something to the Nationals) whether it’s insurance or just depth for these guys, I would love to make it work. I don’t know if it’s going to be able to… I feel like I’m a major league pitcher and I can help out a major league team, but I’d also love to help out the Washington Nationals whenever and however that may be.”