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The 33-year-old Soriano is next to an empty locker, well away from Storen and Clippard. Those two are in-season roommates and have lockers next to each other. Soriano isn’t like his wisecracking, tight-knit and much younger bullpen mates. The quiet newcomer keeps to himself and operates on his own schedule, to Johnson’s amusement. Try to find Soriano after he pitches and, like a ghost, he’s usually long since disappeared.

“Oh, yeah, I feel old right now,” Soriano said, then laughed.

After saving 42 games for the New York Yankees last season while Mariano Rivera recovered from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, Soriano opted out of the final season of his three-year, $35 million contract on faith a better deal (and opportunity to close with Rivera returning) existed elsewhere. The pitcher had no idea where he’d land. Discussions between his agent, Scott Boras, and the Nationals started in November. Owner Ted Lerner became involved.

That snagged the veteran with 132 saves over 11 seasons, gave the Nationals their most experienced closer since Chad Cordero and squeezed an upgrade into the last part of the roster with room for one.

In the clubhouse, conversation hums like the large refrigerator crammed with bottles of water. Playing cards and cellphones come out. Bowls of granola and plates of ham and eggs filter back from the kitchen. The trio waits on red-and-blue stools. The clock ticks down.

World Series or bust? That starts here.