One of my dearest Internet-only friends has asked me repeatedly in recent days how news of Drew Storen’s Game 5 back spasms and excruciating back pain — as detailed by Jayson Werth to CBSSports.com — could have eluded the local press corps.
“I’m not blaming his injury,” Werth told that site. “He just wasn’t healthy.”
Turns out, that news also eluded the Nats GM.
“I’m with the team quite a bit. I’m on every road trip, and obviously at that time of year, you’re with the club constantly,” Mike Rizzo told MLB Network this week. “And really, it was news to me about the excruciating back pain and that type of thing. We knew that he was getting some treatment. And it’s really the responsibility of the player — if he’s not ready to go, if he’s not able to go — to tell the manager and be honest with him.
“But Drew’s a warrior; he’s gonna battle through things, and pitch through things,” Rizzo continued. “And the way I saw him pitch, his velocity was really good, his stuff was really good, he was just missing on some of his pitches. And I credit the Cardinals’ hitters more so than I blame Storen’s pitching. Because there were some outstanding at-bats there in that inning. They were taking pitches that were just off the plate — and they WERE off the plate — and they were putting together some great at-bats. And that’s why they were the defending World Champs.”
Previously, you’ll recall, Davey Johnson said any back issue had nothing to do with Storen’s results, noting that “the only thing I recall is he didn’t throw many strikes.” Storen himself also deflected the report, telling reporters “It’s not an issue. That game’s done. Game’s about results.”