|Photo courtesy of US-Presswire|
Drew Storen threw a perfect inning in his first relief appearance with the Potomac Nationals on Thursday but, according to Nats manager Davey Johnson, he may have been a little too perfect. Storen threw only eight pitches, less than the team expected when they set forth a plan of four minor league outings.
Storen is expected to pitch again Saturday night in his second game recovering from bone chips in his elbow and Johnson hopes they can see more from the Nats reliever.
“We have him scheduled for four outings, but I want him to throw more than eight pitches and get a good workout. If not I told him and [Steve McCatty] that rather than him go and throw in the bullpen I’d rather him see game situations,” he said.
“If the outing became short he could possibly go back tomorrow and do a couple of back-to backs. It’s all about arm endurance and how it bounces back.”
Johnson spoke of building a foundation from when Storen comes up because as a possible closer they can’t truly replicate MLB game pressure and crowds. Johnson said Storen is scheduled to pitch again on July 11 and that moving forward it will have a lot to do with how many pitches he throws.
The Nats manager said he has the luxury of bringing back Storen slowly because of the team’s pitching depth.
“It’s not going to be imperative for back-to-backs with the type of bullpen I have,” he said.
“It’s all about arm endurance and how it bounces back. First time he comes up here and pitches I wouldn’t back-to-back him. Maybe I wouldn’t close him.”
Storen is still expected to return shortly after the team gets back from the All-Star break.
Wang throws bullpen on Saturday
Chien-Ming Wang was seen throwing in the bullpen early Saturday afternoon with pitching coach Steve McCatty as he continues his road back from a right hip strain. Wang is currently on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 3.
“He’s still throwing to keep his arm going, but mostly he is just relaxing and getting his trainer Vicky working him out in the exercise room,” Davey Johnson said.
Johnson joked about Wang’s hip exercises, saying he himself has participated.
“In fact I have copied some of the exercises, there are some pretty good ones,” he said. “I have never heard of them before. You stretch your hips and loosen them up and it’s better than having someone stretch you or massage you. I hate to say I’m glad he got hurt but I have had two back operations and I can use those exercises.”
Wang has appeared in seven games this season for the Nationals and started four. He is 2-3 on the year with a 7.61 ERA in 23.2 innings pitched.
Johnson said Wang will go back to Taiwan for the All-Star break and return after in hopes of starting a rehab assignment when the team continues play.
“At the break he is going to go home like everybody else and he’s going to come back and hopefully start pitching again,” he said.
Tracy has setback
Bench player Chad Tracy made a rehab appearance with the Potomac Nationals Friday night as he works his way back from surgery to repair a tear in his right groin. He went 0-for-4 as the team’s designated hitter and, according to Davey Johnson, felt some pain when running to first.
“I think he hit three ground balls to the second baseman and had some discomfort coming out of the box,” Johnson said. “He is going to be off today and come in here and rest because it’s in the same area as that surgery.”
Johnson is hopeful a day off will correct the problem and said he could see the setback coming.
“I was expecting it, it was a pretty major injury. When you come back there is scar tissue and the body tends to over-heal, he probably broke a little of that. Hopefully a day off, it is just some adhesions breaking loose, hopefully he’ll be fine. We’ll know more after today.”
Tracy has a .265 average on the year with three home runs and 12 RBI.
Morse dealing with minor knee injury
Nationals right fielder Michael Morse looked a little sluggish in Friday night’s game the Rockies when tracking down singles hit his way. On Saturday Davey Johnson was asked whether anything was hindering his ability in the field.
“I don’t think the shoulder is a problem, I am more worried about the hammy right about the knee. It’s caused him some problems, but I didn’t see him getting much treatment today so hopefully he is pretty much by it,” he said.
“I still think he is not quite where he was last year with the bat and he is trying to work his way there.”
Morse is batting .283 with four home runs and 16 RBI in 31 games since returning from a right lat strain he suffered in spring training.