After a dominant outing for Single-A Potomac on Tuesday night, Drew Storen is finally nearing a return to the Washington Nationals’ active roster. How soon? Could be as early as Thursday, said Nationals manager Davey Johnson.
“I see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Storen said.
“He’ll probably be activated soon,” Johnson said, knowing that Storen’s addition to the bullpen will mean the Nationals have to make some tough choices when it comes to deciding how to fit him into their relief corps.
The only two members of the Nationals’ bullpen with minor league options remaining are Ryan Mattheus and Craig Stammen — two of the team’s best right-handed relievers this season. Mattheus has a 1.69 ERA out of the bullpen, Stammen a 1.66 mark. Moving any other reliever would most likely require losing them from the organization.
Johnson, however, refused to tip his hand with regard to how the team planned to create the space to get their 43-save closer from a year ago back on the roster.
“I’ll talk to you about that on (Friday),” Johnson said. “Or (Thursday), after the game.”
As for Storen, he said Wednesday he made an adjustment between his previous outing and the one he had Tuesday night, felt more under control and focused on not trying to throw as hard as he had in Harrisburg and more on trying to pitch and command his pitches.
“I just let it be more natural and just tried to pitch a little bit,” Storen said. “I was happy with my command and I feel really happy with my movement.”
Storen said he’s treated his rehab assignment like spring training — an abbreviated one anyway — and is at the point where he feels he’s ready to return to the major league level.
“It was kind of a crash-course spring training,” Storen said. “Not as many innings (as a usual one) but I’m happy with it.
“I feel confident out there, and I feel comfortable. I think that’s the main thing.”