The Washington Post

Ivan Rodriguez’s influence on Drew Storen

After he pitched a perfect eighth inning Friday evening, Drew Storen made a pit stop on the way back to the dugout. Along the first base line, Storen halted and talked with Ivan Rodriguez, his glove covering his mouth and Rodriguez’s arm around him.

During last season, Storen had a hard time even following Rodriguez’s thinking during at-bats. Rodiriguez had been catching in the majors since 1991; Storen had been alive since 1987. That he can converse with Rodriguez about strategy shows Storen how his grasp of the mental side of pitching has grown thanks to throwing to Rodriguez.

“Last year, I was amazed,” Storen said. “When I would go out and pitch, I would just let him call it. The way my mind works was so amateur compared to him. He just calls such a polished game. It’s just like, ‘Wow.’ So now I’m starting to get it. Now I’m starting to think on the same lines as him, which shows you how I’ve learned from him.

“I pretty much feel like I’m a passenger when he’s out there. I don’t have to think. He knows what I’m comfortable with, and he knows what the best approach is.”

Adam Kilgore covers national sports for the Washington Post. Previously he served as the Post's Washington Nationals beat writer from 2010 to 2014.

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