FLUSHING, N.Y. - Drew Storen will be examined by renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews tomorrow after the Nationals closer felt some tenderness in his right elbow following a simulated game yesterday.
This is the second time that Storen has been shut down by elbow problems this spring, as the 24-year-old felt tightness in his throwing elbow midway through spring training. He's been on the comeback trail recently, playing catch and then subsequently throwing off a mound, but after facing hitters for the first time since the initial elbow issues, Storen felt the same type of tightness that he encountered earlier in spring.
"I knew that alarm bells went up on him after he threw," manager Davey Johnson said. "He'd been doing real good, and after he kind of let it out in that sim game, he had some fall-back pain. So we're going to re-examine.
"Hopefully it's nothing serious, but it doesn't sound good to me."
The Nationals are pretty certain that Storen doesn't have any ligament damage, as an arthrogram after the initial elbow issues revealed that the closer's UCL appears intact. But there is a loose body floating in Storen's elbow which is believed to be causing the tenderness.
The loose body could be a bone chip, which would likely require surgery. The Nats had hoped that rest and treatment would clear up the loose body, but it appears to be lingering.
Former Nationals starter Jason Marquis had surgery to remove bone chips in 2010. Marquis was back throwing in the big leagues nearly three months after the surgery.
A first-round pick in 2009, Storen saved 43 games for the Nationals last season.
The Nationals have depth at the back of the bullpen with Brad Lidge, Henry Rodriguez and Ryan Mattheus, but being without Storen for a matter of months would be a major loss to a team that has legitimate playoff aspirations this season.
"Anytime you lose somebody the stature of Storen ... that's a big concern of mine," Johnson said.