JUPITER, Fla. — Chris Young readily admits he doesn’t know how the next few days of his career will play out.
He can activate the out clause in his minor league deal with the Washington Nationals on Sunday. His next start is scheduled for Monday.
The 6-foot-10 right-hander twirled five scoreless innings against the Miami Marlins on Wednesday, and now will have to examine if there are big-league opportunities available for him on one of the 29 other teams.
“There’s a lot of stuff I’m going to have to evaluate,” said Young, who does not appear to have a place on the Nationals’ major league roster, barring an injury.
“I love it here. I’ve had a great spring. I love being around these guys. … There’s nothing not to like about being here, but I’m realistic that this staff is so deep. There are a lot of guys who wouldn’t be good enough to make this staff.”
Young will talk with his agent, Jon R. Fetterolf from Williams & Connolly, and sit down with manager Davey Johnson, pitching coach Steve McCatty and general manager Mike Rizzo to discuss the options on the table. If there is a major league opportunity available, Young said he’d have a hard time passing on it to remain at Triple-A with Washington.
“I do feel like I’m a big-league pitcher,” Young said. “To turn down a big-league opportunity to go to Triple-A is probably not in my best interest. If I’m weighing Triple-A options, this would be at the top of my list. If I’m comparing a big-league opportunity to a Triple-A option, I think you guys would all do the same thing.”
For the Nationals’ part, they would love to keep him. Young was as sharp as he’s been all spring Wednesday, allowing just two hits and a walk with two strikeouts to the Marlins. He tired himself out with two trips around the basepaths, reaching on a bunt hit and a walk, and felt strong after 64 pitches.
He would be important insurance for the Nationals’ starting staff, but they just don’t have room to keep him, at this point, in the majors.
“He’s nice having around here,” Johnson said. “But I would think what he’s done this spring and what he’s done in his career, he won’t have a problem if he doesn’t make this club.”
Soriano to undergo dental procedure
Nationals closer Rafael Soriano will have a procedure done on an infected tooth Thursday and it could force the team to tweak the closer’s schedule a bit.
“We’ll play it by tooth,” Johnson said Wednesday morning before the Nationals’ game against the Marlins.
Soriano, who traveled home to the Dominican Republic on the Nationals’ off-day to visit with his family, has an infection in a wisdom tooth. He was expected back in Nationals camp Wednesday and, according to a source familiar with the situation, will have the procedure in the U.S. on Thursday.
The Nationals wanted to get the problem taken care of as quickly as possible. According to the National Institutes of Health, a severe dental issue can actually affect a person’s shoulder with pain running down the neck and arm.
“He could need to have a root canal or something,” Johnson said. “He hasn’t complained of anything, but that’s something you always look at because if they have an impacted molar or something, it can lead to an infection and that can be a problem for your shoulder.
“We just want to get it fixed now, rather than wait.”
Soriano endured his roughest outing of the spring Monday afternoon, allowing four hits, a walk and five runs in 2/3 of an inning. After the game, Johnson said he felt it was perhaps the best he’s seen his closer look, despite the results.
When Soriano arrived at Nationals camp this spring, he told Johnson that he needed about 8-10 innings of work in the spring and he liked to go back-to-back once before the season began. He’s appeared in five games already. With nine games remaining, there should still be plenty of time for him to reach those checkpoints.
Around the horn
According to the online oddsmaker Bovada, Stephen Strasburg is the favorite to win the National League Cy Young award, currently with 11-2 odds. Bryce Harper also has 10-1 odds to win the NL MVP award, third behind Joey Votto (15-2) and Ryan Braun (9-1), and tied with Matt Kemp. … Harper was 2 for 3 with four RBI on Wednesday, bringing his spring average to .400. … Kurt Suzuki became the first Nationals catcher this spring to play nine innings Wednesday. … Washington on Wednesday acquired left-hander Ian Krol from Oakland to complete the three-team trade that sent Michael Morse to Seattle.