Washington Nationals' Closer Drew Storen out Until Mid-April or Longer?

Michael NargiSenior Analyst IMarch 28, 2012

Storen is expected to start the season on the DL.
Storen is expected to start the season on the DL.Hunter Martin/Getty Images

The Washington Nationals have already begun planning to begin the year without closer Drew Storen. 

The original thought was that Storen would only miss a short time, but on Wednesday, manager Davey Johnson made it sound like an almost certainty that Storen will have a stint on the disabled list.

Mark Zuckerman, who covers the Nationals for CSNWashington.com tweeted, "Storen has resumed throwing but likely to open on DL. Davey: "Hopefully sometime in mid April. Maybe I'm being overly optimistic."

What sounded like a matter of getting enough strength back and becoming familiar with the routine again has now taken a more pessimistic approach. A mid-April returns means the Nats would be opening the season with Brad Lidge and youngster Henry Rodriguez as the closers. 

Although every game is important, Washington could probably get by for a week or two without Storen. The final thing that Johnson said though should make fans very nervous.

If a mid-April return is "overly optimistic," then when should he return given a moderately realistic timetable? The longer that Storen is out, the longer that the Nats must hold their breath in the ninth inning.

Lidge certainly has the experience, and Rodriguez has the ability to strike out anyone, racking up 107 strikeouts in 97.1 innings in his career.

If Lidge and Rodriguez show in the first week or two that they have capability of doing the job, then there will not be a rush for Storen to return.

However, Storen is coming off a very impressive season in which he saved 43 games for the Nats. Those kinds of numbers are not easily replaceable.

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