Young Bounces Back From Scary Injury

Chris Young is all the way back from a scary injury and ready to help the San Diego Padres try to bounce back from a 99-loss season.

The 6-foot-10 right-hander retired the first five batters before surrendering a solo homer by Mitch Jones, his only blemish in two innings in his second spring start, a 5-4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday.

Young missed more than two months last year after being hit in the face by Albert Pujols' line drive on May 21, breaking his nose and fracturing his skull. He returned in late July.

Young has a scar running down his nose from where Pujols' liner hit him, leaving him dazed and bloodied. He knows that an inch or two either way and he could have lost an eye, or even suffered a life-threatening injury.

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"I feel really good," Young said. "I've made, I'd say, a full recovery. I'm really just fortunate to be back out there and really, no effects. I had a couple of sinus issues this offseason, which they told me to expect, but aside from that, it's been really, really easy."

Young said one of the most frustrating things about the injury was not being able to help his team last summer as the season fell apart.

"If anything, it's helped motivate me for this year in that I worked extremely hard this offseason and I've just come into spring training with a mentality that I want to make every start this year, I want to be out there and I want to give this team a chance to win every time I pitch," said Young, who was an All-Star in 2007.

"I think if I'm healthy and Jake's healthy and we've got some good, young arms in here, anything can happen," he said, referring to ace Jake Peavy.

"I think the way he came back the latter part of last year indicated to me that there were no repercussions from the injury," manager Bud Black said. "He came back strong physically and mentally, had a good offseason preparing for the spring. I don't think there are any ill effects, that I see. He's a great competitor, strong mentally. I see no signs at all."

Including a perfect inning against the Mariners on Thursday, Young retired his first eight batters this spring.

Jones' third home of the spring ended that string. Jones has eight RBIs in 12 at-bats.

This was the first time the Dodgers and Padres met since Los Angeles moved its spring base from Florida to Arizona.

Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley pitched two hitless innings.

Blake DeWitt hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning that put the Dodgers up 5-1. He also had a double in the fifth inning.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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