February 23, 2012; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Drew Storen (22) throws as manager Davey Johnson (5) and pitching coach Spin Williams (52) look on during camp at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

Storen Underwent Surgery, Out Until June

It appears that Drew Storen will miss a little more time than expected. According to Storen’s agent, the Nationals closer had surgery done Wednesday afternoon to remove a bone chip on his elbow. According to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson, Storen is expected to make a full recovery and return to action “some time before the All-Star Break,” but the exact timetable is currently unknown. As mentioned in the headline, it appears June is the target, but with injuries and surgeries you can never really know for sure.

To give a brief summary of Storen’s injury-filled Spring Training, he started having “typical arm soreness” (according to the team) back in the beginning of March. Fast forward a few weeks now to late March, and the team reveals that Storen is actually suffering from elbow inflammation, and will be placed on the disabled list. At the time the news wasn’t terribly startling, as he was scheduled to return in mid-April (like, this week). But when Storen went to throw a simulated game this past Sunday, he experienced pain once again, which led to where we are now. Glad to hear the problem has been identified and solved (knock on wood).

Though this news is certainly somewhat alarming, it’s not all bad. We’ve seen Henry Rodriguez and Brad Lidge are at least competent enough at closing games to keep the Nats above .500 (through 5 games…). Lidge in particular has looked very good so far, and if he can get going, who knows? Perhaps the Nats won’t even need Storen. Tis not to say they won’t welcome his return, but if Lidge could return to the form he had in his golden years, Storen’s return would become more of a luxury than a necessity to manager Davey Johnson. With Tom Gorzelanny proving to be a very effective option out of the pen (2.42 ERA as a reliever in 2011), Rodriguez developing further, and Tyler Clippard continuing to be one of the best non-closing relievers in the game, a Lidge-led bullpen could still prove to be one of the best in the league.

The downside of this is that now both my closers (Kyle Farnsworth and Storen) are now injured on my fantasy team. So much for that league title….curse you Drew Storen! (Not really, Drew you’re awesome.)

But in all seriousness, losing Storen for a few months is nothing to smile about. Despite the fact that the currently-healthy relievers should be able to hold their own until June, the Nationals have still lost a bullpen option that saved 43 games in 2011, recording a 2.75 ERA through 75.1 innings. Had it not been such a strong year for closers in general, Storen’s numbers would rank in the top-tier of closer statistics. Age 23, over 40 saves? Chad Cordero has returned in the form of Drew Storen. Now let’s just hope Storen can come back healthy in June.

Tags: Bullpen Disabled List Drew Storen Injury Nationals Pitching Relief Pitching

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