The Washington Nationals might start their season with their closer sidelined on the disabled list.
Drew Storen, who has been sidelined with bicep, tricep and elbow pain, might not have enough time to prepare for the regular season. An MRI done earlier this week revealed inflammation in his elbow joint, but no structural damage.
According to Nationals beat writer Amanda Comak, Nationals manager Davey Johnson said that Washington will "prepare for the possibility he doesn't break with us."
Storen plans to begin throwing on Tuesday or Wednesday, and the Nationals fear that there might not be enough time for him to be ready to close ballgames at the beginning of the regular season.
If Storen starts the season on the DL, Johnson plans to leave Tyler Clippard in the set-up role and have Brad Lidge and Henry Rodriguez assume the role of closer. Lidge has plenty of experience as a closer, as he racked up 223 career saves in his career with the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies.
The good news is that Storen should be able to bounce back from the injury since there is no structural damage. The Nationals should be able to piece it together without moving Clippard from his set-up role.
The 24-year-old Storen had 43 saves last season in his first full year as the Nationals' closer. The Nationals hope that he can return without pain and be effective for a team with expectations to contend.
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