Chris Young ’02 (Keith Allison/Flickr)
Chris Young ’02 (Keith Allison/Flickr)

Last December, when former All-Star pitcher Chris Young ’02 came to Princeton to speak on a panel of alumni baseball pros, he said in a PAW interview that he was ready to get back on the mound in the major leagues after missing nearly all of the 2013 season with a shoulder injury. “I’ve always said I want to play as long as I possibly can,” Young said. “I’m 34 right now, and I feel like there are still some good years ahead of me.”

Young’s peers agree: Last week, the Seattle Mariners righthander was voted the American League Comeback Player of the Year by a group of more than 100 players surveyed by Sporting News. Young finished the season with a 12-9 record and a 3.65 earned-run average in 29 starts. He pitched 165 innings, the most since his All-Star season in 2007.

Young had surgery in the offseason to correct a nerve injury that affected his pitching arm. “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,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon told Sporting News. “He is a tireless worker and showed his determination with his performance.”

For Young, the comeback itself was rewarding. “The life lessons I have learned throughout this experience are invaluable and will stay with me the rest of my career,” he said in a Mariners news release.

Seattle won 87 games, its highest win total in seven years, and finished one game shy of earning a spot in the American League wild-card game.