Padres' Chris Young nearing return to big leagues

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The Padres hit a well-chronicled skid at the end of August and carried that bad momentum into early September.  On top of that, they’re having to be overly protective of some of their young arms.

It has created a tense situation at the top of the National League West standings and the Padres are currently clinging to a mere one-game lead over the Giants.

Now for the good news: a reinforcement may be on the way.

According to Corey Brock of MLB.com, right-hander Chris Young threw 5.2 shutout innings on Saturday night at Single-A Lake Elsinore and is “clearly ready” to return to the big leagues.  Young tossed 3.1 scoreless in his first rehab start last week.

The 31-year-old out of Princeton University has registered only one big-league outing this season and made only 14 appearances in 2009 to some rather shoddy results, but it wasn’t long ago that Young was the ace of the Padres’ staff. 

In 2008, Young turned in a 3.96 ERA and 1.29 WHIP over 18 starts.  He struck out 93 batters in a little over 102 innings.  In 2007, Young had a career-best 3.12 ERA and 1.10 WHIP over 30 starts and tallied 167 strikeouts in 173 innings.

If he can get anywhere near that kind of form, the Padres will be in pretty good shape down the stretch and Mat Latos might be able to find some extra rest.

Marcus Stroman loses no-hit bid in the seventh inning of WBC final against Puerto Rico

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Update (11:57 PM ET): And it’s over. Angel Pagan led off the bottom of the seventh with a line drive double down the left field line off of Stroman, ending the no-hitter. Manager Jim Leyland immediately removed Stroman from the game.

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U.S. starter Marcus Stroman has held Puerto Rico hitless through six innings thus far in the World Baseball Classic final. The Blue Jays’ right-hander has held the opposition to just one base runner — a walk — with three strikeouts on 68 pitches.

WBC rules limit a pitcher to throwing a maximum of 95 pitches in the Championship Round, so Stroman has 27 pitches left with which to play. If he hits the limit during the at-bat, he can continue throwing to the completion of that at-bat. Needless to say, though, Stroman won’t be finishing his potential no-no.

The U.S. has given four runs of support to Stroman. Ian Kinsler hit a two-run homer in the third inning. Then, in the fifth, Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen both provided RBI singles. Update: The U.S. tacked on three more in the top of the seventh when Brandon Crawford drove in two with a bases-loaded single and Giancarlo Stanton followed up with an RBI single.

We’ll keep you updated as Stroman and any pitchers that follow him attempt to complete the no-hitter. Shairon Martis is the only player to throw a no-hitter in WBC history. However, the game ended after seven innings due to the mercy rule, or as it’s known now, the “early termination” rule.

Video: Ian Kinsler homers in WBC final, rounds bases solemnly

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Ian Kinsler found himself in hot water on Wednesday evening when he criticized the way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play baseball. It is his hope that kids watching the World Baseball Classic decide to emulate the emotionless way players from the U.S. play baseball as opposed to the exciting, cheerful way players from other countries tend to play the game.

Needless to say, Kinsler’s comments didn’t sit well with many people, but he has the most recent laugh. Kinsler broke a scoreless tie in the top of the third inning of Wednesday night’s WBC final against Puerto Rico, slugging a two-run home run to left-center field at Dodger Stadium off of Seth Lugo.

Kinsler, of course, rounded the bases solemnly which is sure to highlight just how cool and exciting the game of baseball is to international viewers.