Even if surgery were not required, the Padres believed their key reserve wouldn't return until the end of August at the earliest.
Now Padres manager Bruce Bochy is talking about Eric Young returning around the All-Star break. And Young is talking about July 1.
"What if I feel good July 1?" said Young, who is on the 60-day disabled list since crashing into the center field fence at Petco Park while making a sensational catch.
"That's why I don't like time schedules. I'm close. It's coming sooner than you think."
On Friday, before the Padres 5-4, 11-inning loss at Minnesota, Young not only looked sharp in batting practice he was making hard, sharp throws from second during infield practice. "It's the best snap I've put on my throws," he said.
With second baseman Mark Loretta out until Aug. 1 following thumb surgery, the struggling Padres -- who Friday lost a fifth straight game for the first time this season and fell to 3-12 in June -- could certainly use Young in their lineup.