With the Nationals back in town for another few days before shipping up to Boston, reliever Drew Storen has rejoined the team to check in with team doctors and continue his throwing program.
And believe me when I tell you, he's thrilled to be back in D.C. and away from the heat he was dealing with while rehabbing at the Nats' extended spring training complex in Viera, Fla.
"I can't explain to you (how hot it is)," Storen said. "Actually, I can. Go to the steam room, and go play catch in the steam room."
Instead of doing that, which I would imagine would be a little restricting, Storen threw out on the field today, marking the first time that he's thrown back-to-back days since having surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow. Storen is throwing off flat ground from up to 120 feet now, which he says was a nice hurdle to get to.
"Everything feels great," Storen said. "I feel real strong. One thing I've been telling people is every day I've been taking a step forward. There's not one day where I go, 'I don't feel so great,' or there's kind of status quo. There's no status quo. Every day it's something stepping forward. There's no pain. Everything's falling into place nice.
"I feel like I'm a lot stronger than I was and just been getting a lot of work in, in the weight room. And that's one nice thing about Viera, Fla. There's not a whole lot to do other than work out."
Storen should advance to the next step in his program - throwing off a mound - sometime in the next couple weeks. He's currently on track in his recovery right now and still feels confident that the initial timetable for his return, which had him back around the All-Star break, is about accurate.
Fellow reliever Brad Lidge threw in his first rehab game yesterday with Single-A Potomac, which was a plus even if the results weren't exactly exceptional. Lidge, who is working back from hernia surgery, allowed one run on two hits and a walk over just one-third of an inning before being pulled because he'd reached his pitch limit.
He will pitch for Potomac again tomorrow and Friday, and hopes to rejoin the Nats for their series against the Blue Jays, starting Monday.
"Wouldn't say I was locked in (yesterday), but hopefully Wednesday and Friday will get me where I need to be and then we can kind of assess at that point if I'm ready to join the team," Lidge said. "And I hope I will be. They don't even necessarily have it written down, they're just kind of going on how those games go, and reassessing. And my guess is, if they go well and I'm throwing good, there's no reason not to jump back in with the team. That's their decision, but health-wise, I feel good."
Because yesterday was the first time Lidge was throwing in a game in five weeks, he said he was kind of focused on just taking it easy and "not letting it rip so much." He said he feels good today and will work on a loose pitch limit of around 20 pitches his next time out.
Meanwhile, infielder Mark DeRosa is not with the team now, as he is tending to his ailing father in the hospital. Even if DeRosa was around the Nats, he still wouldn't be ready to go on a rehab assignment as his strained left oblique is still "tender," according to manager Davey Johnson.
Johnson texted with DeRosa and told him to spend time with his father. DeRosa can rejoin the team when he's ready, Johnson said.