- The Washington Times - Monday, July 27, 2009

Dmitri Young won’t play in the big leagues this season. The question now is whether the veteran first baseman will ever make it back to the majors.

While on rehab assignment with Class AA Harrisburg last week, Young tore his left quadriceps muscle, an injury that will prevent him from playing again this year. Given his struggles to stay healthy the past two seasons, it’s possible the 35-year-old’s career has ended.

“I’m upset because I was feeling great, and then pop,” he wrote in a text message. “Wasn’t the way I wanted to go out.”

Young had been on the disabled list all season with a back injury but began rehabbing with Harrisburg on June 30 and went 7-for-29 with two RBI in 10 games. While legging out a hit July 18, he blew out the quad and hasn’t played since. An MRI confirmed the torn muscle, and Young is back home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

An inspiring story in 2007 after winning NL comeback player of the year honors while batting .320 for an overachieving club, Young has battled injuries ever since. Former general manager Jim Bowden rewarded him with a two-year, $10 million extension, but Young played in only 50 games last season and never made it to the District this season.

He said earlier this month that he felt healthy and ready to return to the majors - with the Nationals or another club. At the same time, he acknowledged the opportunity might not come again and sounded like he would accept retirement.

“I’m going to play my heart out,” Young said at the time. “If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. If not, I had a nice career. I’ll just watch my kids grow up and enjoy them.”

Storen still dominating

While ongoing negotiations with Stephen Strasburg continue to grab headlines, the Nationals’ other first-round draft pick continues to dominate while actually pitching in their farm system.

Drew Storen, the reliever from Stanford selected 10th in last month’s draft, has made 13 combined appearances between low-Class A Hagerstown and high-Class A Potomac, spanning 18 innings. During that time, he has recorded 31 strikeouts without walking a batter.

Overall, Storen - who agreed to a $1.6 million signing bonus a day after the draft - owns a 3.00 ERA, with opposing batters hitting .179 against him.

Strasburg, the No. 1 selection, is seeking a precedent-setting contract for a draft pick that would shatter the record $10.5 million the Chicago Cubs gave pitcher Mark Prior in 2001. Negotiations with the former San Diego State right-hander and his agent, Scott Boras, are expected to go down to the 11:59 p.m. deadline Aug. 17.

• Mark Zuckerman can be reached at mzuckerman@washingtontimes.com.

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