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.

Angel Hernandez made a great call on a tough play

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Fans, and even some writers, tend to jump on umpires when they make bad calls, but rarely if ever point out when they make good calls on tough plays. Angel Hernandez is one of those umpires who gets a lot of flack — and I may suggest even deservedly so — but in the interest of giving credit where credit is due, he made a great call on a very tough play during Thursday afternoon’s game between the Phillies and Marlins.

With a runner on first base and two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning with the Phillies leading 2-1, first baseman Brock Stassi laced an Edison Volquez pitch down the first base line. Michael Saunders, who was on first base, came around third base and attempted to score. The relay throw from second baseman Dee Gordon beat Saunders, but Saunders slid expertly to the back of home plate, avoiding the tag from catcher J.T. Realmuto just long enough to slip his hand in and touch the plate. Hernandez ruled Stassi safe with no hesitation because he was in a great position to get a look at the play. In real time, it was a bang-bang play. The Marlins didn’t challenge the call.

The MLB.com video doesn’t have the best angle, but still shows what a close call it was in real time. This .gif from Meghan Montemurro of The News Journal provides the best angle:

Hernandez also made this nonchalant grab when catcher Andrew Knapp tossed it attempting to catch a foul pop-up:

Yoenis Cespedes leaves game with pulled hamstring

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The Mets and Braves are playing today and it’s not a great day for the Mets in the injury department.

First they scratched Noah Syndergaard with a “tired arm.” Now they’ve lost Yoenis Cespedes, who pulled up limping at second base following a double in the bottom of the fourth:

The team has announced that he has pulled his left hamstring.

Cespedes, of course, missed three games over the weekend due to hamstring issues. That was merely tightness, however, and following an off day and a rainout, Cespedes played last night without incident. But it now looks as though he’s going to miss some serious time.