Chris Young hopes to return to Padres this season

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Remember Chris Young? He certainly hopes the San Diego Padres do.

Young, the 6-10 right-hander known as much for his injury struggles as his talent, threw 55 pitches over three innings in a simulated game on Thursday.

He is trying to work his way back from a shoulder injury, and says he’s focused on returning this season, not next. From the Associated Press:

“It’s definitely my goal, not just to pitch, but to be successful and win,” said Young, who’s had a serious injury for three straight seasons. “Certainly I’m not trying to get ahead of myself. There’s still some tests, but I wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t my goal. It would be easy to shut it down and say I’ll strengthen it and worry about pitching later, but that’s not the case. I want to pitch, I want to win, I want to help this team make a strong run here. I feel if things keep going according to plan, I’m capable of that.”

Young has made just one start this season, pitching six scoreless innings against the Diamondbacks back on April 6. Over the last three seasons, he has made only 33 starts as he has struggled to stay healthy.

When able to pitch, Young – who was an All-Star in 2007 – is a solid talent (47-34, 3.84 ERA, 1.209 WHIP over his career).

The Padres, who would have homefield advantage throughout the playoffs if the season ended today, are already ruling the NL on the strength of their pitching and defense. They lead the league in ERA, WHIP and hits allowed, are second in strikeout/walk ration and third in strikeouts.

If Young were to return this season, the guess here is that Kevin Correia would lose his spot in the rotation, though the team could also opt to curb the workload on 22-year-old Mat Latos, who has thrown 142 of his career 193 innings this season.

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Report: Jose Ramirez close to four-year extension with Indians

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Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.

Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.

Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.

Diamondbacks return Rule 5 pick Tyler Jones to Yankees

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Diamondbacks’ right-hander Tyler Jones is headed back to the Yankees, the teams announced on Friday. The Diamondbacks had previously selected Jones in the Rule 5 draft last December, but elected to leave the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster heading into the 2017 season. Rule 5 draft rules stipulate that when a player is not kept on the receiving team’s roster, the player must be offered back to his original team.

Jones signed a minor league contract with the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to an impressive 2.17 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 13.2 SO/9 over 45 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton, but was unable to make the leap to Triple-A or beyond during his stay with the organization.

Jones’ outlook with the Diamondbacks appeared slightly more promising. GM Mike Hazen described the righty as a power arm with a “good fastball and power curveball” after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and early reports indicated that Jones would be in the mix for a bullpen spot. A rough spring performance — underscored by his lack of experience at the Triple-A and major league levels — undid most of that confidence, however, and the Diamondbacks weren’t willing to keep him on the active roster throughout the entire 2017 season in order to acquire his control rights.

Jones is set to open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a report from the Yankees.