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Better late than never for Drew Storen

Drew Storen arrived at his first spring training with the Washington Nationals with a clear goal. He wanted to make the team. He had signed his first contract early, the day after the Nationals drafted him last June. He pitched in the Arizona Fall League. He engineered the first portion of his career to pitch in the majors as fast as possible.

Today, the Nationals slowed him down. Storen, like fellow draftee Stephen Strasburg, will begin the season in Class AA Harrisburg. Although Storen is scheduled to pitch later today, the Nationals reassigned him to their minor league camp.

"I understand there's a bigger plan," Storen said. "There's big-picture things. If going and becoming polished in the minor leagues to get my shot at the big leagues is part of the plan, that's fine."

Pitching for the first time in a major league setting, Storen was one of the most impressive pitchers in Nationals camp. Storen allowed three runs in five innings, zero in his first three innings. He allowed five hits, walked three and struck out six. From older teammates, he learned how to prepare as a major leaguer.

"The whole experience on and off the field, you can't match it," Storen said.

After the Nationals drafted him last year, Storen pitched 37 innings in three levels, topping out at Harrisburg. Storen also pitched 13 2/3 innings in the Arizona Fall League, which he led with a 0.66 ERA. The experience may allow him to reach the Nationals faster than Strasburg.

"For him to have a chance to be here quicker is a possibility," Manager Jim Riggleman said. "He doesn't need to be stretched out. Physically, he's ready to pitch an inning in the big leagues or get five outs in the big leagues or come in and pitch two or three days in a row."

Storen, impatient by nature, believes he could be doing that once the year starts. Instead, he'll be teammates with Strasburg again - "It's kind of more me just following him around," Storen joked - while he also realizing the Nationals plan for him.

"I want to be there now," Storen said. "But I understand there's a process to it."

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 20, 2010; 2:12 PM ET
 
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Next: Matt Chico's demotion, Cristian Guzman's view on the shortstop job, Nyjer Morgan's hamstring and Jamie Burke's surgery

Comments

It's really hard to not like this guy. I'm talking about Storen, but if you thought I meant Kilgore, well that applies too.

Posted by: Sunderland | March 20, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I still think they should make some attempt to see how he looks as a starter in Harrisburg Sue Dinem. Noting that Nate Karns is now listed as a closer on the NFA's spreadsheet.

Posted by: periculum | March 20, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Smart moves for both our young pitchers just to keep the rights for an additional year. I will give peri his due, once he has an idea he manages to post it in just about every response. We understand you want him to start but I am not sure Rizzo is reading this. Still, with what has been shown this spring I am not questioning your reasoning, just the number of times I have to read it.

Posted by: sjm3091 | March 20, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

@peric: Storen has been a reliever/closer for three straight seasons. Converting him to a SP sets him back a year or two at least. He's mentally geared to the 'fast-tract' as a reliever for the Nationals, so let's leave him there; He should be solid once he gets here.
Karns is so far over the horizon and untested that even 2012 might be too early for him. It's not always about how hard a pitcher throws, it's about how often they get batters out.

Posted by: BinM | March 20, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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