Craig Heist, wtop.com
WASHINGTON — After opting out of his contract nearly two weeks ago, veteran right- handed pitcher Chris Young has signed a Minor-League deal to return to the Nationals, giving them some more starting pitching depth.
This time his deal has no opt-out clause.
Manager Davey Johnson indicated Young would be the first person to be called upon if the Nats need an emergency starter.
"I like him," Johnson said.
"He threw the ball good this spring, pitched pretty well, competitor, real great insurance."
Young started four games for the Nationals in spring training going 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA.
He went 4-9 last season with the New York Mets with a 4.15 ERA in 20 starts. Young will report to the team's spring training sight in Viera, Fla., to get stretched out and then join Triple-A Syracuse in about 10-12 days.
Young was recovering from shoulder problems in the early part of the last year and he impressed everyone who saw him throw this spring.
"He looked a lot like Chris Young," said Nats GM Mike Rizzo. "His velocity was down just a tick, but he is not a velocity guy.
He is starting to get the touch and the feel on his fastball and starting to get that zone where he has to pitch in which is he has to pitch up in the zone but not too far up in the zone."
Young had said toward the end of the spring when he opted out that some teams had expressed an interest in his services and Johnson was surprised no one picked him up.
"He had a good spring for us. It was probably late in (spring training) and a lot of clubs were going with their young guys," Young said.
Young has said all along if it were possible to work something out, he would like to come back to the Nats, a winning club with a chance to reach the post season again.
"Winning is important and that's why this place appeals to me," Young said.
"This is a winning baseball environment. It's a bunch of winners in this clubhouse. The coaching staff, the front office, the ownership, this organization is just great and being in this environment, you get a little taste of it, you see how fun it is, and you want to be a part of it."
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