Washington Nationals News: Drew Storen breaks thumb, likely out for season

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The 2015 season continues to get worse for the Washington Nationals, and it continues to get especially dreadful for reliever Drew Storen, who may now miss the rest of the season because of a self-inflicted injury.

According to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, Storen slammed his pitching hand on his locker after giving up a home run in Wednesday’s loss to the New York Mets. Storen broke his right thumb, and is expected to miss the rest of the season.

The injury is the latest painful twist in what has been a disastrous second half for the former closer.

Storen, who dazzled with 29 saves and a 1.62 ERA as the team’s closer, lost the ninth-inning gig when the team acquired former Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. After losing the job, Storen imploded, and his once magical season turned into a mediocre campaign that may very well end his career with the Nationals.

The right-hander has struggled mightily since the demotion, posting a 5.79 ERA as the eighth-inning setup man. After carrying the bullpen throughout the first half of the season, Storen has arguably been its weakest link over the last several months and his struggles have played a big role in the Nationals’ second-half collapse.

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With Papelbon set to be the closer next season, and given Storen’s prolonged second-half slump, many predicted that the Nationals would trade the right-hander in the offseason. Now, it looks like his time in Washington could very well be coming to an end.

While it’s impossible to know what the Nationals’ plans are for Storen, there’s no doubt that the team is unhappy with the right-hander in light of recent events. And given how vocal he was with his displeasure at the Nationals’ decision to demote him, it wouldn’t make much sense to have a player who probably won’t want to pitch for the Nationals, playing for a team that probably won’t want him to pitch for them, either.

Of course, Storen has been fantastic at times throughout his career with the Nationals. But given the drastic turn of events that has transpired over the last few months, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Nationals try to trade him this winter—even if the return is minimal at best.

Here’s what Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo had to say about Storen’s injury, via Janes:

If Storen’s season is in fact over, the right-hander ends the year with a 2-2 record, 29 saves, and a 3.44 ERA. Throughout his six-year career, Storen has posted a 3.02 ERA and recorded 95 saves.

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