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Nationals Notebook: Closer Storen optimistic on return in early summer
BY ZAC BOYER
WASHINGTON—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 on 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 Monday that wouldn’t be possible.
Storen 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 innings.
The pitcher believes the Nationals acted appropriately by trying to ease him back from the original discomfort, and general manager Mike Rizzo said the elbow “looked pristine” when Douoguih performed the operation.
“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.”
MORSE OUT UNTIL JUNE
Michael Morse, who aggravated a strained latissimus dorsi muscle while on rehabilitation in Single-A Hagerstown on Monday, will be completely shut down for six weeks before resuming baseball activities, Rizzo said.
Morse originally pulled the muscle in a spring training game March 6 and was expected to return to be in left field for the Nationals’ home opener.
“We tried to ramp him up, get him ready as quickly as we could because he’s a big part of our lineup,” Rizzo said. “And we just reaggravated it, so now we’re going to have to be ultra-cautious and make sure that he’s right for the majority of the season.”
Morse hit .303 last season and had 31 home runs and 95 RBIs in 146 games, all team-highs. He signed a two-year, $10.5 million contract extension in January.
Zac Boyer: 540/374-5440