VIERA, Fla. -- Feeling "way better" after missing two weeks with a sore arm and then strep throat, Drew Storen returned to play catch today and said he has no doubt he'll get enough work in before Opening Day.
"We've still got time," the Nationals closer said. "That's the main thing, seeing the big picture."
Storen hasn't pitched since March 7 after experiencing soreness in the biceps area of his right arm, a product (he believe) of throwing too hard in his first two relief appearances of the spring.
"I was trying to get after it too much," he said. "But it's nothing serious."
Storen would have returned to the mound sometime in the last week, but then he came down with strep throat and was told to stay away from the clubhouse for several days. He returned this morning feeling better and ready to resume building his arm up.
The Nationals have 15 days until their season opener in Chicago, and Storen doesn't think he'll need much time to get his arm ready for regular-season work.
"It's like the Interstate," he said. "Once I get on the Interstate, I'm good. I don't want to rush it. If I really try to rush it, that can come back and bite me in the middle of the season. Obviously that's what we're trying to avoid."
The Nationals are also taking a cautious approach with left fielder Michael Morse (lat strain) and first baseman Adam LaRoche (bone bruise in heel). Manager Davey Johnson said he believes both players will resume baseball activities Sunday.
That said, Johnson did suggest for the first time the possibility one or both players might not be ready for Opening Day.
"We're going to be ultra cautious," the manager said. "If the doctors feel if we don't baby them it could be something that lingers, I'm going to monitor real close and I'm not going to push them to get them ready for Opening Day if they think that'd be a setback. Any of them."