Chris Young Named AL Comeback Player of the Year

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The Sporting News announced its annual Comeback Player of the Year award today and Mariners right-handed pitcher Chris Young was named the American League winner.

Young, 35, returned to the Majors for the first time since 2012 to go 12-9 with a 3.65 ERA (67 ER, 165.0 IP) in 30 games/29 starts with the Mariners. The 6-10 right-hander did not pitch in the Majors in 2013 after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder. From 2009-2012, Young made just 42 Major League starts battling various shoulder injuries.

“I am extremely honored to be named Comeback Player of the Year by the Sporting News,” said Young. “There are many deserving players who have demonstrated the commitment, dedication and perseverance to overcome similar obstacles and I am humbled to be recognized amongst them. The life lessons I have learned throughout this experience are invaluable and will stay with me the rest of my career. Furthermore, I hope that I can serve as inspiration to other players in the same manner in which I was inspired to pursue my comeback. I am extremely grateful to my teammates, coaches, the Seattle Mariners organization and my family, as each and every member contributed to my success.”

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Young’s 12 wins tied his career-high set in 2005 with the Texas Rangers, and recorded the 3rd-most innings (165.0) of his 10-season Major League career. The span of 8 years between 12+ win seasons is tied for the 3rd-longest in MLB history behind Danny Darwin (12 years, 1980-93), Lindy McDaniel (9 years, 1963-73) and Ron Kline (9 years, 1958-68).

“Chris was a big part of our success in 2014, really solidifying our rotation,” said manager Lloyd McClendon. “To think he won as many games as he did, and made 29 starts, coming off the type of surgery and the injuries that he had, I think it’s just tremendous. He is a tireless worker and showed his determination with his performance. This is a very deserving award for him in every way possible.”

“This is a tremendous and well-deserving honor for Chris,” added pitching coach Rick Waits. “He worked tirelessly and stuck to his routine to keep himself healthy and on the mound throughout the season. He had a breakthrough year making a comeback, but it wasn’t really that surprising to me. This is a testament to his resolve, patience, determination, hard work, his routine and his tireless study of opposing hitters.”

Young is the fifth player in Mariners history to win the Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year Award, joining Willie Horton (1979), Richie Zisk (1981), Gorman Thomas (1985) and Gil Meche (2003).

Miami’s Casey McGehee was the NL Comeback Player of the Year. Here are the voting results:

American League (voting by only AL players)

1. Chris Young, Mariners-49
2. J.D. Martinez, Tigers-22
3. Scott Kazmir, Athletics-14
4. Derek Jeter, Yankees-11
5. Melky Cabrera, Blue Jays-6
Others-30

National League (voting by only NL players)

1. Casey McGehee, Marlins-26
2. Tim Hudson, Giant-17
3. Matt Kemp, Dodgers-15
4. Starlin Castro, Cubs-2
5. Others-4

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