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Posted at 05:56 PM ET, 06/05/2012

Brad Lidge still on track after uneven rehab appearance, Drew Storen making progress


(Rob Carr - GETTY IMAGES)
Nationals reliever Brad Lidge still expects to rejoin the Nationals’ bullpen either Sunday in Boston or Monday in Toronto after he threw one rehab inning last night with Class A Potomac.

Lidge threw only 10 strikes in 22 pitches, allowing three of the four batters he faced to reach base. He also struck out one against Frederick. The results, though, mattered less to Lidge than how he felt.

“I felt healthy,” Lidge said. “I’m not locked in. I actually threw real good on Friday in Florida, not as good yesterday. But that was the first game situation in almost two months.”

Lidge plans on making two more rehab appearances for Potomac, one inning Wednesday and one more Friday. Lidge could join the Nationals for their series finale against the Red Sox on Sunday, and if not he would meet the Nationals for their series that start Monday against the Blue Jays, if all goes well.

“I expect Wednesday and Friday to be fine,” Lidge said. “Hopefully, I’ll be ready after that. It depends on what they see, too. They don’t want me going to Fenway pitching at 90 percent.”

Lidge underwent hernia surgery May 1. He made seven appearances for the Nationals in April, his last outing coming April 21. He allowed four earned runs in seven innings, striking out seven while allowing seven walks.

The Nationals will likely ease Lidge back into the bullpen in a set-up role, with Tyler Clippard keeping the closer duties. But Lige’s experience – he has 225 career saves – makes him a candidate to closer on nights when Clippard needs a break.

They would be merely keeping the seat warm for closer Drew Storen as he recovers from the surgery he underwent in early April to remove bone chips from his right elbow.

This afternoon, Storen returned from Florida to spend a few days with the Nationals. He threw on consecutive days for the first time today and has begun playing catch from 120 feet. Storen’s timetable still calls for a return around the all-star break, but he feels comfortable with the progress he is making.

“I feel real strong,” Storen said. “Every day, I’ve taken a step forward. There hasn’t been one day where I go, ‘I don’t feel so great.’ It’s never status quo. Every day, I’ve taken a step forward. There’s no pain. It’s nice.”

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By  |  05:56 PM ET, 06/05/2012

 
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