NEW YORK — Washington Nationals closer Drew Storen underwent surgery Wednesday to remove a bone chip from his right elbow. The surgery, which was performed in Washington by Nationals’ team doctor Wiemi Douoguih, was considered minor and went well.
Storen’s agent, Brodie Van Wagenen of CAA Sports, said Storen is expected to be back with enough time to “make a meaningful contribution this year.”
The exact timetable for his return is not known at this point, but the feeling is that, if all goes well in his recovery, Storen could return around the All-Star break, if not before.
Recovery from this type of surgery can vary but most estimates range anywhere from two to four months. Former Nationals starter Jason Marquis had bone chips removed from his right elbow on May 14 in 2010. He made his next major league start on Aug. 8 that year.
The bone chip was first discovered when Storen underwent an MRI-arthrogram on March 22 after experiencing some elbow soreness early in spring training. The test showed a small “loose body,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. But Storen could have been pitching with it in his elbow for years and the decision was made to try and treat the tenderness with rest and medication.
Storen began throwing off a mound at the end of March. As the Nationals opened the 2012 season, he was in Viera, Fla., continuing his rehab and progressing well. Throwing off a mound gave him no issue but when he faced hitters for the first time in a simulated game on Sunday, the soreness returned and Storen’s tests were sent to renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews for a second look.
It was decided then that surgery was the best option for Storen, 24, who saved 43 games for the Nationals last year. In his absence, the Nationals will continue to use veteran right-hander Brad Lidge and flame-throwing righty Henry Rodriguez to save games.
Storen is expected to be in attendance for the Nationals’ home opener on Thursday.