Source: Chris Young, Mets close

Updated: January 17, 2011, 5:15 PM ET
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

The New York Mets are closing in on a deal with free-agent right-hander Chris Young, a source within the organization told ESPNNewYork.com.

Young, 31, made three September starts for the San Diego Padres last season, after missing most of the season with a strained right shoulder.

The deal will not be completed until the Mets are satisfied with Young's physical.

Young's addition would give the Mets a probable five-man rotation to open the season of Mike Pelfrey, R.A. Dickey, Jonathon Niese and newcomers Chris Capuano and Young. That would allow rookie Dillon Gee to serve as a safety net, who likely would open the season at Triple-A Buffalo if the other starting pitchers are healthy.

Johan Santana will begin the season on the disabled list and may not return until June or July. The ace left-hander was just cleared by team doctors to begin tossing a baseball before spring training. He underwent surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder on Sept. 14.

The Padres had declined an $8.5 million option for 2011 on the injury-plagued Young. He had shoulder surgery in August 2009. After one subsequent April appearance, he did not return until September. In three starts at the end of the season, he limited opponents to two runs and nine hits in 14 innings. His velocity was reportedly down despite the success.

"C.Y. proved at the end of the season how valuable a pitcher he can be when he is healthy," Padres manager Bud Black told the San Diego Union-Tribune as the season concluded. "Given his height and delivery, his high fastball is very hard to catch up to."

Young would be the most high profile import in what is quickly becoming the Mets brainy bunch, particularly in the rotation.

The 6-foot-10 Young played basketball and baseball at Princeton. Capuano was Phi Beta Kappa at Duke. Dickey was an English major at the University of Tennessee and is extremely well-read. Left-handed reliever Taylor Tankersley is also known as an intellectual, and his father is a nuclear physicist.

Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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