Johnson responds to report claiming Storen battled injury in NLDS

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Asked today about a report that claimed Drew Storen was battling “unbearable” back spasms during Game 5 of the National League Division Series, Nationals manager Davey Johnson said that it was inexperience, not injury, that led to Storen blowing a save in that game.

“Only thing I recall is he didn’t throw too many strikes,” Johnson said. “And I attribute that to trying to be too fine. Gio (Gonzalez) had the same problem - he was trying to be a little too fine. Wasn’t being too pitch-efficient. And that’s just lack of experience.

“I’m sure that hasn’t been the first time he’s pitched with some back spasms. But I’m not worried about it, he’s a great young pitcher.”

The report included quotes from Jayson Werth, who claimed that Storen was dealing with bad back spasms during the NLDS. According to the report, Storen spent “much of the final three days” of the Nationals’ season in the training room.

Storen declined to discuss his health on the record for the story. He pitched scoreless innings in Games 3 and 4 before allowing four runs in the ninth inning of Game 5. Storen twice was a strike away from sending the Nats to the National League Championship Series only to see the Cardinals eventually take a two-run lead.

“He was having real bad back spasms. That was the third day (pitching) in a row,” Werth told “He was banged up, man. No one knew. For him to just have the (guts) to go out there, that says a lot about him.

“I’m not blaming his injury. He just wasn’t healthy.”

Johnson said that Storen has not received treatment on his back this spring and the two haven’t discussed any physical problems.

By the end of a long season, a number of players battle various ailments which come from appearing in so many games. Johnson said he thinks a bunch of his guys were probably dealing with bumps and bruises in the postseason.

“I’d be surprised (if there weren’t guys dealing with injuries),” Johnson said. “A lot of guys are used to having nagging injuries that time of year. I don’t think anybody was overly tired. Again, I attribute (the blown save) to just a little inexperience in that situation, and sometimes you try to do too much. That comes with lack of experience.”

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