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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Rays’ Díaz gets $24 million, three-year deal, avoids arbitration

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Tampa Bay Rays infielder Yandy Díaz agreed to a $24 million, three-year contract on Tuesday that avoided a salary arbitration hearing.

Díaz’s agreement could be worth $36 million over four seasons.

The 31-year old will receive $6 million this season, $8 million in 2024 and $10 million for 2025. The 2026 club is $12 million with no buyout. There is a $1 million assignment bonus that would be payable by receiving team.

Díaz has spent parts of six seasons in the majors with Cleveland (2017-18) and Tampa Bay (2019-22). He has a career average of .278 with 39 home runs and 198 RBIs.

Acquired by the Rays in a three-team trade on Dec. 13, 2018, Díaz hit .296 with nine homers and 57 RBIs in 137 games last season, He career highs with 71 runs, 140 hits, 33 doubles, and 78 walks.

Díaz was the third Rays’ arbitration-eligible player to reach a deal.

Reliever Pete Fairbanks agreed Friday to a $12 million, three-year contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons. The 29-year-old right-hander was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Left-hander Jeffrey Springs also agreed last week to a $31 million, four-year contract that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year-old began last season in the bullpen and transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, and outfielder Harold Ramírez.