Nationals closer Drew Storen, now about one month or less away from making his 2012 debut, threw a bullpen session for the second time this afternoon. On Friday, he threw off a mound for the first time since he underwent surgery in early April to remove a bone fragment from his right elbow.
“No problems afterward,” Manager Davey Johnson said. “I think he was a little disappointed. He thought he’d feel a little better than he felt the second time out, but I wasn’t expecting anything less from Storen. Every time he throws the ball, he wants to throw it through the wall. But he had no problems after throwing. He’s right on track.”
Storen’s nature is to blaze through rehab as fast as possible, but he has made a concerted effort through his return to take things slow and not endanger his future health.
“Feels good,” Storen said. “Good to be back out on the mound. It’s definitely an adjustment to not let it go 100 percent from the start. But I like I said before, I’m seeing improvement. Gotta take it a day at a time.”
After Henry Rodriguez struggled for much of the season, the closer’s role has been in good hands with Tyler Clippard, Storen’s roommate and close friend. Clippard saved all three games over the weekend in Boston, and he has allowed no earned runs and one hit in 8 1/3 innings since Johnson elevated him to the closer’s job.
Storen is still shooting for a return around the all-star break, which begins July 9.
Reliever Ryan Mattheus could return later this week. In recovering from plantar fasciitis in his left foot, Mattheus pitched his first minor league rehab inning yesterday. He was greeted with consecutive home runs but then retired the next three batters. Mattheus is scheduled to pitch again for Class A Potomac tomorrow.
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