One month after suffering facial injury, Pads' Young throws off mound

SAN DIEGO -- Padres right-hander Chris Young threw 40 pitches in a bullpen session on Saturday, exactly a month after he sustained a broken nose and small skull fracture when he was hit in the face by Albert Pujols' line drive.

"Today I was pretty happy with the way things went," said Young, who anticipates pitching again sometime after the All-Star break.

It was the first time the 6-foot-10 Young has been on a mound since he was left bloodied and stunned in the third inning against the St. Louis Cardinals on May 21.

"It felt good. I was actually surprisingly sharper than I had expected," said Young, who was an All-Star last year. "It's really just a starting point. My arm felt free and easy. I felt strong. Hopefully I can build on it."

Young said he threw fastballs, curveballs and sliders, and out of the windup and the stretch. He said everything felt good, although he's still having trouble breathing.

Young is scheduled to have surgery on June 30 to repair his septum, which will fix his breathing problem, as well as some small broken bones in his nose.

He'll take four to seven days off, then resume full activity as soon as he feels like it.

"The only real concern is getting hit in the face again, but there's a risk of that regardless of surgery, so it doesn't matter," said Young (4-4, 4.50), who at some point will make a rehab assignment.

"I'm very encouraged," Young said. "I want to come back. I want to have a strong second half, help this team. We're not out of this by any means. I think we've recently shown some signs when we play well we can compete with other teams in this division."

Young's injury was the most serious of a spate of setbacks for the Padres, who've struggled all season.

The same inning Young was hurt, catcher Josh Bard was knocked out with a sprained ankle when Pujols slid into him while scoring. Bard remains on the disabled list. The previous day, ace Jake Peavy was put on the DL with a swollen right elbow.

Nine days after Young was hurt, left-hander Shawn Estes broke the thumb on his throwing hand when he fell on the tunnel stairs between the team's clubhouse and dugout at San Francisco.

"If I can come back strong, Jake's back healthy, if Shawn comes back, the guys that have been here, Cha Seung [Baek] and Josh Banks have been incredible, so it's going to take every one of us," Young said. "And hopefully if I come back at my best, it helps us and gives us a better chance."

The Padres started the day in fourth place in the NL West, 11 games under .500 and 7½ games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks.