Drew Storen had surgery today to remove a small bone chip from his right elbow, a procedure that is expected to sideline the Nationals' closer for most of the season's first half.
Surgery was performed by team doctor Wiemi Douoguih after orthopedist James Andrews yesterday examined an MRI of the 24-year-old reliever's elbow and confirmed the club's diagnosis of a bone chip, according to a source familiar with the procedure.
Recovery time could be anywhere from 2-3 months, which should have Storen back on the mound in the big leagues shortly before the July 9-12 All-Star break.
Today's surgery brings resolution for Storen, who had been experiencing elbow soreness since early-March but initially believed he'd be ready to open the season with his teammates. Even when he was placed on the 15-day disabled list at the end of spring training, the pitcher was hopeful he'd be able to return within 2-3 weeks.
But while throwing off a mound at the Nationals' extended spring training complex in Viera, Fla., earlier this week, Storen experienced a recurrence of the elbow pain. Team doctors had previously detected a possible bone chip via an enhanced MRI, so the club sent those images to Andrews to get a second opinion.
The procedure to remove the bone chip is considered a minor one, certainly not anywhere close to as invasive as Tommy John surgery (in which a patient's torn ulnar collateral ligament is replaced with a tendon from another part of his body). Ex-Nationals right-hander Jason Marquis had a similar surgery in 2010 and wound up missing almost three months.
With Storen sidelined, the Nationals have been using both veteran Brad Lidge and 25-year-old Henry Rodriguez in the closer's role. Each has recorded one save through the season's first week.