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Posted at 2:06 PM ET, 02/23/2011

Drew Storen meets Jayson Werth again

By Adam Kilgore

storen pitch.jpg

When Jayson Werth stepped into the cage this afternoon for live batting practice and saw Drew Storen standing on the mound, he told the catcher Storen would buzz a fastball right at him. He expected it because of their history.

The last time Werth dug in against Storen came Sept. 19 last year. Storen had climbed the mound at Citizens Bank Park in the ninth inning with a three-run lead, then surrendered three straight hits, a double and two singles that slashed the Nationals' lead to one and brought Werth to plate. Storen worked the count full and threw a slider, which Werth fouled off. On the seventh pitch of the at-bat, Werth crunched a fastball over the center field fence, a walk-off two-run home run.

And so, today, Storen had another chance at Werth. With his first pitch, just as Werth expected, Storen zipped a fastball that backed Werth off the plate.

"Now we're even," Werth said.

"I can't have you too comfortable," Storen yelled back.

The practice continued, Werth whiffing at one pitch and fisting a soft line drive to center. When it ended, as the players walked off, Werth told Storen, "I don't know if I would have respected you if you didn't throw that first one in on me."

When Werth and Storen met earlier spring, the at-bat from September, naturally, was the first topic that came up. Werth surprised Storen when he asked him, "Why'd you throw a fastball there?"

"It was interesting to hear his perspective on it," Storen said. "I had played it out in my head what he was looking for. I thought I could get a fastball by him there. I was telling him that our scouting reports were a little bit on what he likes to do late in the count.

"It actually ended up giving me more confidence in my slider. He was telling me, 'You should have just thrown a slider.' Instead I just tried to pump one past him."

On Tuesday, Storen pumped one on him. Werth told Storen that he had gained respect for him by throwing the brushback pitch. Storen had gotten that and more out of their encounter.

"That's part of the game," Storen said. "That's part of the fun. You get to play with these kind of guys. In all seriousness, that's a big learning for me. You get a guy like that that's a big-time hitter, to know what he's looking for late in the game, that's all part of that learning process."

By Adam Kilgore  | February 23, 2011; 2:06 PM ET
 
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Next: Bryce Harper tops prospect rankings, three other Nationals in top 100

Comments

Rizzo has improved the dugout.

Now the younger picks and prospects are talking to Rodriguez, Werth and LaRoche instead of the likes of Paul LoDuca, Elijah Dukes and Lastings Milledge.

Remember those bums?

Where are those great Bowden finds, Dukes and Milledge, today?

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | February 23, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Prospects are like bread. Someone puts a nice fresh loaf of bread in front of you and it looks great. But leave it sit there a while and it gets stale. Then the new fresh loaf of bread someone sticks in front of you looks better.

Posted by: FeelWood | February 23, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Prospects are like bread. Someone puts a nice fresh loaf of bread in front of you and it looks great. But leave it sit there a while and it gets stale. Then the new fresh loaf of bread someone sticks in front of you looks better.

Posted by: FeelWood | February 23, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Prospects are like bread. You can get 2 loaves for $4 with your Safeway card.

Prospects are like bread. No matter how they are designed, one piece of falafel drops out the back.

Prospects are like Bread. They represent the worst excesses of faux-soulful 70's make-out rock.

Prospects are like comments. They fail with a double-post.

But about baseball ... I like what Werth said and did, and I like what Storen said and did. This team needs a lot more of that. At this point, however, I don't think of Drew as a 'prospect', he's a major-leaguer. One can mutter about the 4A Nats, and that's still true at too many positions, but if Storen were dangled in a trade, I can't think of a team that wouldn't bite. And he'd be on that team's OD roster. He might not be the answer at closer, but he'd be an upgrade over what anybody has at the back of their bullpen bench, at minimum. I look forward to watching him get even better as a Nat.

Posted by: Nanta | February 23, 2011 8:26 PM | Report abuse

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