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NATIONALS: Closer Drew Storen Has Bone Chip Removed From Elbow
Drew Storen underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone chip from his right elbow Wednesday, a procedure that Storen and the Washington Nationals believe will clear him to pitch again at some point later this season.
The procedure, performed by surgeon Weimi Douoguih, was a minor, half-hour operation to correct a problem Storen originally experienced earlier in spring training. He pitched an inning in games March 4 and March 7, then was shut down because of discomfort in the elbow.
He was pitching a simulated game Monday when the soreness returned, and upon consulting with Douoguih and James Andrews, both sides consented to the operation on Wednesday.
“I was pretty confident that it wasn’t anything more than that, but when they go in there, there’s always a possibility they’ll see something,” Storen said. “When I woke up and they said, ‘It was quick, it was easy, it was what we expected,’ obviously, it was a big relief.”
The bone spur was originally revealed last month when Storen underwent an arthrogram, in which dye is injected into the inflamed area to clarify X-rays. He expected to pitch through it this season, potentially having it taken care of in the fall, but found that wouldn’t be possible Monday.
He appeared in 73 games for the Nationals last season, finishing 6-3 with 43 saves, a 2.75 ERA and 1.02 ERA over 75 1/3 innings.
Storen believes the Nationals “did the right thing” with trying to ease him back from the original discomfort, though he admitted it may be more difficult now with his recovery. Typically aggressive with his routine, Storen said he knows he has to be more cautious to avoid any future issues – but that because the bone spur has been removed, it’s unlikely a recurrence will happen.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said the elbow “looked pristine” when Douoguih performed the operation and the team is convinced it will put an end to Storen’s problems.
“It looked really, really good,” Rizzo said. “Ligament intact. It looked very clean there. We feel this was the issue and the problem. We got the scope, took care of the chip and you know, the regular protocol – [Jason] Marquis went through it, and a lot of players go through these chip removals and pitch effectively in that same year, so we feel that he’ll rehab and do his thing and be back on the mound sometime this season.”
Nationals pitchers Brad Lidge and Craig Stammen have also had bone chips removed from their elbows, and Storen said he’s already spoken to Stammen about the procedure.
“They’ve got a pretty set protocol for this stuff,” said Lidge, who had bone chips in his elbow during his minor league career and in 2009. “You just follow that set protocol, and like I said, there’s gonna be days where you’re wondering why your arm hurts so bad and there’s gonna be days where you’re wondering why you’re not going faster. You just have to stay on their schedule and hopefully it goes fast and there’s no major setbacks.”
While Stammen got to keep the spur, displaying it for some time in a vial in his locker, Storen never got to see his. In terms of being foreign, this experience is new to Storen, who never before had any type of surgical procedure.
“I didn’t even break my arm as a kid, so the whole ‘going under the knife’ is kind of weird,” Storen said. “And putting on socks is not exactly [easy].”
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