The Washington Times - February 23, 2013, 11:27AM

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Responding to a report that then-closer Drew Storen dealt with painful back spasms during the National League Division Series, including Game 5, manager Davey Johnson downplayed the significance any ailment might’ve had on the outcome of the game.

“The only thing I recall is he didn’t throw many strikes,” Johnson said, asked about what he remembered from that series, in particular the final game, with regard to Storen. “And I attributed it to him trying to be too fine. Gio [Gonzalez] had the same problem, was trying to be too fine, wasn’t very pitch efficient. That’s just lack of experience.

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“But I’m sure that’s not the first time he’s pitched with some back spasms. I’m not worried about it. He’s a great young pitcher.’

Toward the end of the season, Storen was spotted on occasion wearing ice around his back area. But at that point it was more uncommon to see a player who didn’t require treatment on something at the end of a long season — much of which was spent in the heat of a pennant race.  

But right fielder Jayson Werth told CBSsports.com that Storen, who was working for his third consecutive day when he took the mound for that fateful Game 5, was not healthy.

“He was having real bad back spasms,” Werth told CBSsports.com “That was the third day (pitching) in a row. He was banged up, man. No one knew. For him to just have the (guts) to go out there, that says a lot about him… I’m not blaming his injury, he just wasn’t healthy.”

Johnson stressed inexperience and the pressure of the situation over any type of injury issue when discussing it on Saturday morning before the Nationals’ spring training opener against the Mets. Storen, who was not on the trip, is scheduled to throw in Sunday’s home opener.

Johnson said whatever issue there was has not lingered into the spring and Storen “hasn’t said a word, hasn’t gotten any treatment.”

“A lot of guys are used to having nagging injuries that time of year,” Johnson said, going back to the end of the season.

“I don’t think anybody was overly tired. Again, I attribute it to just a little inexperience in that situation, and trying to do too much. That comes with lack of experience.”