Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A long time ago

How many playoff games have the Padres won since October 1998, when Sterling Hitchcock outdueled Tom Glavine in Atlanta?

One.

Remember?

Chris Young tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings against Albert Pujols and the Cardinals in 2006. Young was fun to watch. His arm was strong, and hitters were unable to gauge his fastball. Cardinals fans were loud. Young quieted them. He never appeared scared. He had some edge to him.

I thought back to 2006 on Tuesday, while hearing Young talk about his ailing shoulder.

It's sad to see what Young is going through. He gets a lot of joy out of pitching. He's unusually competitive, even for a professional athlete. A basketball star in his days at Princeton, Young cares a great deal about winning. I could be wrong about him, but I doubt money and stats are his primary concerns.

He said before Tuesday's game that he needs more tests on the shoulder. "Frustrating," Young said. "It's just frustrating."

Last summer he had shoulder surgery to fix an impingement. Went well, we were told. The comeback was smooth sailing, Young said in March. He's since been shut down twice.

Tuesday, I asked him if the ailment is threatening his career.

"I don't know," he said. "We're still trying to figure out what's going on in there. Hutch (Padres trainer Todd Hutcheson) and I are going to get together."

He'll undergo more tests on Friday. He said the pain isn't as bad as it was last year. But he said his success against the Diamondbacks in his only start this season -- six innings, one hit -- was a bit misleading.

"My stuff deteroriated late in that start," he said.

He said his shoulder tightened up as the game went along. True to his nature, Young pitched through the pain. He said on Tuesday that he doubts that pitching in that game further damaged his shoulder.

Where this is going, no one seems to know. But the signs aren't encouraging.

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