Washington Nationals closer Drew Storen passed the one-month mark from surgery to remove a bone chip from his right elbow earlier this week. And he celebrated by playing catch for the first time his before his operation.
On Wednesday he threw for the second time since surgery, making 100 throws in the outfield at Nationals Park with trainer Lee Kuntz. Storen made 25 throws from 45 feet, 25 from 60 feet and then repeated the progression.
“It’s kind of tedious,” he said. “It’s a tedious process, because you want to go out there and throw just like you did before and you can’t really do it.
“It’s like driving a Ferrari five miles an hour, as brutal as that would be.”
Storen said he felt weak, not because there was anything wrong but because this was the longest time he could remember he’s ever gone without throwing. He was not, however, as sore as he expected to be after his first session on Monday.
Teammates have urged him to be cautious, though, as difficult as it may be, and not rush himself back. The goal for his return is still around the All-Star break.
“Hopefully no setbacks or anything like that,” he said. “I try not to think about it too much, as much as I want to, because with this process you’ve got to go a day at a time.”
Storen said it’s been tough for him to watch as first reliever Brad Lidge went down with an injury and then Henry Rodriguez began to struggle in closing situations lately.
“It’s really difficult,” Storen said, citing his own transition to the ninth inning. “It is different than the seventh and eighth inning, but your approach shouldn’t be. Mentally, you should still work out of the same… It’s just one of those things that — you can’t close in spring training. You can’t do it anywhere else. The only way you learn to close is to close in the big leagues in the biggest spots, and I think that’s one of the things that (Rodriguez is) learning.”