NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Playfully, Chris Young predicts a huge upset. Naw, not that he’ll make the New York Mets’ rotation — he expects that.
Rather, how his old Princeton team will do in the NCAA tournament. “They’ll beat Kentucky by three points,” he suggested.
The 6-foot-10 righty kept up his solid spring showing, pitching into the sixth inning Tuesday night as the Mets beat the Washington Nationals 5-2.
Young missed most of the last two seasons with San Diego because of shoulder trouble. Making his fourth exhibition start, Young held the depleted Nationals to a run on Rick Ankiel’s broken-bat infield single and four hits in 5 1-3 innings. Overall, Young has allowed three earned runs in 14 1-3 innings.
“Something to build on,” he said. “Physically, no issues.”
Young escaped a bases-loaded jam in the second. The inning was prolonged when Mets second baseman Luis Castillo was late covering first base on what could’ve been a double play. The slow reaction prompted some fans to boo Castillo.
Mets manager Terry Collins liked what he saw from Young, saying he was on track to be the No. 4 starter when the season starts.
A two-sport star in college, Young now hopes to get his work done early Thursday morning. That might free him to make the 3½-hour, cross-state drive to Tampa to watch in person when Princeton, a 13-point underdog, takes on Kentucky in hoops.
“I’m a good alum,” he said.
Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and catcher Ivan Rodriguez were scratched from the starting lineup. Zimmerman has tightness in his right groin and Rodriguez has a cramp in his left calf, and both All-Stars are expected to be out four to five days.
“Hope it’s only a couple of days,” manager Jim Riggleman said.
Oliver Perez, trying to earn a spot as the Mets’ situational left-hander, relieved Young. He faced three lefty hitters, retiring two and walking one.
Nationals starter Tom Gorzelanny bounced back from a poor start in his spring debut to go four innings, giving up one run and two hits. He struck out four, including Jason Bay and Jose Reyes.
David Wright doubled, singled and walked, scored twice and stole a base. Bay singled home Wright with the go-ahead run in the sixth.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched a hitless ninth for a save.
NOTES: The Mets will spend the next two days in Fort Myers and play Boston and Minnesota. Collins said he’d like to see the team make a mini-trip to Florida’s west coast next year, too, possibly to play the Yankees. The Mets and Yankees haven’t played in spring training since 1996. … Mets OF Carlos Beltran (left knee tendinitis) is set to resume baseball activities Wednesday. He’ll stay behind in camp to work out.
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