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One week in, Drew Storen has been a hit

Morning roundup

Drew Storen came into the Nationals win Sunday with one out in the sixth inning. He walked one batter and recorded two outs to finish the inning quickly, which is normal. He walked off the field and stopped to chat with Steve McCatty, who informed something not very normal: Storen was going to bat in the bottom of the inning.

Storen had not hit once as a professional, and he did not hit once as a collegian at Stanford. He arrived at Stanford as a potential third baseman, but that notion vanished when he started throwing mid-90s fastballs and batting like he "wasn't that good," Storen said.

But he was still a switch-hitter. He always had been, ever since he was a kid and his dad taught him. He needed a helmet with an ear flap on both sides. John Lannan tried to get him his. "I have a dome," Lannan said. "It didn't fit him." Storen stood by the bat rack, still looking for a helmet that with two flaps.

"The bat boy was standing there," Storen said. "I was like, 'Hey, give me your helmet.' "

And so Storen walked to the plate for his first professional at-bat wearing the bat boy's helmet. Against Millwood, Storen batted left-handed. He fell behind 0-2, the second strike on a hellacious uppercut hack. ("I was getting my money's worth on that cut," Storen said. "I missed that second pitch by about two or three feet.")

On the next pitch, Storen decided he would shorten his swing. He flicked an 0-2 curveball into the opposite field, just over shortstop Lugo's head, for the first hit of his career.

"I didn't really know what to think," Storen said. "I was just happy I put it in play."

Add a 1.000 batting average to Storen's list of accomplishments. Sunday, he retired five of the six batters he faced, allowing just that one walk. He struck out Luke Scott on a filthy curveball that started at Scott's hands and must have looked to him like it disappeared. "Pretty much an unhittable pitch," Manager Jim Riggleman said.

Storen has already become a crucial piece of the Nationals bullpen. He's been in the majors only one week, and that still does not feel normal to him. Storen has still not retrieved all of his things from Syracuse. As far as he knows, all of it is still in his car in a parking lot outside the stadium. Storen packed two empty suitcases for San Francisco, hoping he'll get his stuff on the road.

"It's just all new," Storen said. "I'm happy with the way I am settling in and adjusting to everything. I know there's still a lot of work left to do."

FROM THE POST

If this next trip goes well, Boz sees an exciting summer ahead for the Nats.

The Nationals finished off a grueling stretch with a 4-3, 10-inning victory over the Orioles thanks to Josh Willingham's walk-off home run.

In case you missed it Sunday, Dave Sheinin wrote another installment of Stephen Strasburg's odyssey on the way to the big leagues.

NATS MINOR LEAGUES

Toledo 8, Syracuse 5: Leonard Davis went 2 for 4 with a walk and a double. Jason Bergmann allowed no runs in one inning with a strikeout. His ERA at Syracuse is 2.19.

Akron 5, Harrisburg 2: Marvin Lowrance went 2 for 4 with a home run. Erik Arnesen allowed two earned runs in five innings on four hits and no walks, striking out three.

Potomac 6, Salem 0: Tyler Moore went 2 for 4 with two doubles. Robinson Fabian allowed no runs in seven innings on four hits and no walks, striking out five.

Hagerstown 6, Delmarva 3: Steven Souza went 2 for 5 with a home run. Destin Hood went 2 for 4 with a double and a walk. Mitchell Clegg allowed one run in six innings on six hits and a walk.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

The Nationals are built to win close games, Ben Goessling writes.

FanGraphs wonders if Bryce Harper is worth the money he will demand.

After his team lost a series to the Nationals, it looks like Dave Trembley could get fired today, Kevin Cowherd says.

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 24, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
 
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Next: Ivan Rodriguez placed on 15-day disabled list (Updated)

Comments

Congratulations to Drew on a great first week! Keep it up, young man. This team is on the rise.

Posted by: usmc53 | May 24, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

A little surprised by the Oswalt story--I suspect/hope Rizzo is more focused now short term on our catching situation: until the trooper Pudge can return (what a work ethic the man has!) Wil Nieves is going to have to be the iron man.

If I'm GM, I would offer to "restock" the Astros' supply of pitchers by offering the following for Oswalt: Craig Stammen, Luis Atilano, Matt Chico, J.D. Martin, Shairon Martis, Collin Ballester, and Jason Bergmann. Am I forgetting anybody? Only wish we still had Bruney to add to the pot.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | May 24, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Great beginning for Drew, hopefully he can follow the Mariano Rivera model and go from setup to closer and still be closing 15 years from now!!!

Posted by: markfd | May 24, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I think your list CapP is not a bad offer, but I still prefer the idea of moving Atilano or Stammen into the Bullpen as a long reliever/6th starter option once Stras/Zimmermann/Wang/Marquis are back in the mix. As they say, there is no such thing as too much pitching. But moving one of those guys in the bullpen strikes me as a logical move.

Posted by: alex35332 | May 24, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Quote of the year, so far:

"The biggest adjustment was seeing a man on the mound. The last time I batted, it was a kid," said Storen of the 6-foot-4, 235-pound stubble-bearded Millwood. "I thought, 'This guy is big.' "

Sec314

Posted by: arlingtontwb | May 24, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Who is #89 on Nats? He's on the front of nationals.com slapping Willingham after the HR yesterday. Anyone?

Posted by: dovelevine | May 24, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

He is obviously a coach of some kind. But I don't see any coaches listed with that number.

Posted by: alex35332 | May 24, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

CapPeterson1: We could really use Flores right now, anybody heard any updates on Jesus? last time i read he had regressed in his rehab, don't know if that's true or not and if he'll be comming back this season.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 24, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Who is #89 on Nats? He's on the front of nationals.com slapping Willingham after the HR yesterday. Anyone?

Posted by: dovelevine | May 24, 2010 10:53 AM

Did he have a bandage on his nose?

Posted by: zimbar | May 24, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I think that's our bullpen catcher.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 24, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I think it's William Ligue Jr.

:-)

Posted by: gilbertbp | May 24, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Let's trade all the pitchers we don't want anymore for Roy Oswalt. I'm sure the Astros will go for it.

#4

Posted by: db423 | May 24, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Dave Nichols of NatsNewsNetwork.Blogspot.com will host his weekly Nats show on Primesportsnetwork.com today at 5:30pm, est. Dave's guest will be Brian Oliver of NatsFarm.com. Brian covers the Nationals farm system and will talk about the latest players of note from Hagerstown to Syracuse.

Posted by: gdpsports | May 24, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

"He walked off the field and stopped to chat with Steve McCatty, who informed something [sic] not very normal: Storen was going to bat in the bottom of the inning. " What did McCatty inform this unusual something of?

"Storen stood by the bat rack, still looking for a helmet that with [sic] two flaps." Perhaps you meant "... a helmet that, with two flaps, could protect both sides of his head?

Posted by: KilgoreNeedsACopyEditor | May 24, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

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