Young likely returning for opener

Young likely returning for opener

PHOENIX -- Friday could be the day for Chris Young.

The D-backs outfielder has been out of the starting lineup since he tweaked his groin on June 18 in Kansas City. Since then, the only action he has seen was as a pinch-hitter on both Wednesday and Thursday.

D-backs manager A.J. Hinch watched Young run again prior to batting practice on Thursday and said that Friday was the day he had "circled" for his return.

That, of course, is subject to change, depending on how Young's running session goes on Friday. At this point, the biggest concern is the cuts and angles he would have to make in center field.

"He's inching forward," Hinch said. "We're making progress."

Another injured player who feels he's making progress is reliever Tom Gordon.

The right-hander, who is on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain, is scheduled to throw his next bullpen session on Saturday, and the veteran said he does not feel he needs a Minor League rehab assignment.

"For me, I think it's going to be just needing to get some hitters in there against me," he said. "If I can get to face hitters, I don't think I necessarily need to get in a [Minor Leauge] game situation. It's already late in the season. I've pitched well when I've gone to Triple-A at times and I've felt pretty good, but then there's times I haven't felt the way I've wanted to feel. It's kind of tough for me to get going down in the Minor Leagues. If anything I'd like to see a simulated game or some more bullpens."

Pitching matchup
ARI: RHP Billy Buckner (2-4, 7.15 ERA)
Buckner was a tough-luck loser in his last outing, against the Mariners at Safeco Field. He allowed two runs through six innings and almost escaped a rally in the seventh, but Ichiro Suzuki's chopper up the middle tipped off his glove and bounced into right field. So instead hitting into a rally-killing double play, Ichiro reached and the M's went on to score a pair of runs. It was a much better performance for Buckner, who allowed 14 runs in his previous two starts over a span of 10 2/3 innings. When Buckner is effective, he is getting outs early in counts and locating his curveball.

LAA: RHP Jered Weaver (7-3, 2.53 ERA)
Facing his older brother, Jeff, for the first time, Weaver had his worst outing of the season, giving up more than four runs for the first time in 14 starts. Lasting 5 1/3 innings, Weaver yielded six earned runs on 10 hits and three walks, striking out four hitters. He had given up six earned runs at home in his previous 53 2/3 innings this season. Weaver retired the first seven men he faced but wasn't the same after Russell Martin homered with one out in the third, suddenly losing his command. Weaver is facing Arizona for the first time.

Starters Max Scherzer and Dan Haren have put together nice months of June. Scherzer is 3-0 with a 1.46 ERA in four starts, while Haren is 2-1 with a 1.70 ERA in five starts. Scherzer's ERA ranks third, and Haren is fifth. Haren has held hitters to a Major League-low (among starters) .150 batting average during the month. ... Hinch talked before Thursday's game about the tremendous preparation Haren puts into developing game plans and the meticulous way he executes it on the mound. ... The D-backs are 8-7 against the Halos in Interleague Play, including a 4-5 mark at Chase Field.

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On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• KTAR 620, KSUN 1400 (Español)

Up next
• Saturday: D-backs (Doug Davis, 3-8, 3.53) vs. Angels (John Lackey, 2-3, 5.83), 1:10 p.m. MST
• Sunday: D-backs (Max Scherzer, 5-4, 3.53) vs. Angels (Matt Palmer, 6-1, 4.70), 1:10 p.m. MST
• Monday: Off-day

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.