LAS VEGAS -- In his final spring tuneup, Chris Young gave the Padres what they'd been waiting to see: a string of zeros. Delivering four scoreless innings to open the game Friday, Young was pumping premium gas past hitters, including lethal Derrek Lee, and spotting his offspeed stuff. The Cubs put together a three-run fifth aided by a throwing error by normally impeccable first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, making one run unearned. The inning featured a two-strike, two-run single by Lee before Gonzalez made amends with a sprawling stab of Jacque Jones' grounder, saving a run and ending the inning.
"I was throwing the ball where I wanted," Young said. "It's still not perfect, but I felt like things started coming together. I definitely had the most swings and misses [of the spring] with my fastball; that's the way I pitch." Young had a rough patch in the third, walking three hitters in succession before retiring hot-hitting Aramis Ramirez on a popup. "I felt like my command was better," Young said, having ironed out his delivery right on time. "Even those three walks were on better pitches." Young is scheduled for his Padres debut Wednesday night at PETCO Park against the Giants. With less to prove this Spring Training after a solid rookie season with the Rangers, going 12-7 with a 4.26 ERA, Young was careful not to do too much too soon. "I'm excited," he said. "I'm ready to play games that count, get a little more adrenaline and help this team win games." The Padres had given Young a four-run cushion with a first-inning outburst against southpaw Sean Marshall, starting with Brian Giles' two-out single and ending with a Vinny Castilla's three-run blast to left-center. Doug Mirabelli crushed his fifth spring homer, and Gonzalez continued to sizzle with two doubles and a single off the right-field wall. Ben Johnson banged his second homer, and Mark Bellhorn launched his fourth spring homer, a two-run shot following the first of two Geoff Blum singles. In his first relief appearance, Woody Williams looked dominant, striking out four in two scoreless innings. Scott Linebrink and Scott Cassidy finished the 8-4 victory. Making his case: Hoping to land a spot on the 25-man roster, Johnson advanced his case with his homer to left against Marshall. The man from Memphis has the power and speed to develop into a productive offensive player and is capable of handling all three outfield spots.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.