Peralta suspended, Storen to face hitters tomorrow

The Major League Baseball league office has spoken.

Joel Peralta has been suspended eight games for having an illegal substance in his glove Tuesday night.

The Rays reliever will appeal the suspension, meaning he's still available to be used tonight in the series finale against the Nationals. Peralta faced two hitters last night and retired them both.

Keeping on the reliever topic, Nats closer Drew Storen has now thrown a handful of bullpen sessions, the latest of which was yesterday. Storen, who had surgery to remove bone chips in his elbow April 11, estimates he threw at about 85-90 percent and says he still expects to return around the All-Star break.

The next step calls for Storen to face hitters tomorrow. It will just be live batting practice, not a full simulated game, but will still be another hurdle which the reliever will be able to overcome.

"I'm still making progress every day and I'm having no pain," Storen said. "I'm starting to get the feeling that I felt before I got hurt, so I'm really happy with where I'm at, but it's still a day-by-day process."

Storen said facing the hitters will be a key step, because while he feels great, he's interested in watching hitters' reactions to his pitches. Those reactions will tell him how he's truly throwing, he said.

Yesterday's bullpen session marked the first time that Storen threw his slider off the mound, though he'd been doing that off flat-ground for a couple weeks. He'll throw all fastballs in the live BP session tomorrow.

Recently, with Storen out, his roommate, Tyler Clippard, has been holding down the closer's job.

Talk about awkward.

"I haven't talked to him since he got the job. No, I'm just kidding," Storen said. "We've talked about it. We're all on the same page here, so it's nothing that serious. We're not going to (start) some big QB controversy going on or anything."

In reality, Storen and Clippard are very close friends, and it appears clear that Storen won't be bumped out of his job just because of an injury. But Clippard's recent success in the ninth inning has showed that both guys can get the job done.

"I think we'll be all right regardless of what happens," Storen said. "He's doing a good job. I'm excited to get back and challenge him a little bit, but I think regardless, we'll be in good shape."

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