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."
March 20, 2010; 2:12 PM ET
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