Nationals Storen says command was “good” in first rehab start

Nationals right-hander Drew Storen was pleased with his first appearance in a minor league rehab game since his recovery from elbow surgery to remove a bone chip.

Storen started for high Single-A Potomac against Frederick on Thursday. He pitched a scoreless first inning, facing three batters and not allowing a hit or run. Storen induced a groundout and flyout in the short stint at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Va.

After the outing, Storen said there is still work to do, but said he is on schedule.

“It is not where it is going to be when I am pitching in the ninth inning of a big league game, but it is there still,” Storen told reporters. “I think that is the biggest thing. You kind of have those stepping stones.

“Each outing, it will ideally move up. For me, it was about command and movement. I thought my sinker had good sink to it. It is about missing barrels. If I was getting barreled up, I would be a little more concerned. I felt good with where my command was, and the ball was moving, so that was good.”

Storen said he is still looking for more consistency. He will look for that in his next few rehab outings. Storen also said he knows he will come back as the setup man and that it is a part of the “acclimation process” to “get your feet wet at each different level.” But he was emphatic that when he returns, he is returning to close.

He also said he will treat times when he starts as if it is the ninth inning and said he hasn’t started since high school.

Storen said he believes he will throw again “sometime this weekend” in Woodbridge, Va., for Potomac. He expects to pitch every other day.

“This is probably the most critical time to listen to your body,” Storen told reporters. “Not to assume that just because I faced some hitters that I am 100 percent. I know I am not. I still have to treat this like the first time I played catch. (But) I don’t anticipate any issues.”

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