Rafael Soriano’s wife gave birth to a baby boy Monday, meaning the closer will miss tonight’s game on paternal leave. Nationals Manager Davey Johnson said Drew Storen, who is on three days rest, will be available to close should the team face a save situation against the St. Louis Cardinals in Monday’s series opener.
“We’re going to have the same situation we had a few months ago,” said Johnson matter-of-factly before Monday’s game, referring to the gut-wrenching loss in Game 5 of the NLDS last October in Washington in which Storen allowed four runs in the ninth inning.
Soriano stayed back in New York after the weekend’s three-game series against the Mets to be with his wife, who gave birth to their second child. The mother and baby boy are doing well, Soriano said. The Nationals, who were aware since spring training that Soriano’s wife was due to give birth, chose not to call up a player from the minor leagues. Soriano is expected to return to Washington on Tuesday morning, in time for the 7 p.m. game.
Asked Monday afternoon if he knew if Soriano’s wife gave birth, Johnson retorted: “She had a baby because I had a cigar on my desk.”
Storen last pitched on Friday in the opening game of the New York Mets, his worst outing of the young season in which he allowed three runs on a triple and two home runs. Johnson said that Storen facing the Cardinals again could help the reliever move past Game 5.