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Clean MRI on Storen’s elbow

Mar 23, 2012, 2:41 PM EDT

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VIERA, Fla. — An MRI taken of Drew Storen’s elbow revealed no ligament or tendon damage, only inflammation of the joint, and the right-hander expects to resume a throwing program and not miss significant time.

“It’s just rest for a couple more days, and then get it going and be good to go,” he said this morning inside the clubhouse at Space Coast Stadium.

Storen has pitched in only two games this spring, none since March 7 after experiencing soreness in his upper arm and then battling strep throat. He was still feeling soreness earlier this week when he tried to throw again, so the Nationals shut him down and had him undergo an MRI yesterday.

That test, though, revealed no damage to the ulnar collateral ligament or any tendons, only inflammation of the elbow joint. Though Storen was never actually worried he might be seriously injured, the diagnosis did ease his mind.

“I knew from talking to other guys that have had elbow stuff, it wasn’t the same,” he said. “But it’s always in the back of your head. Your arm is never going to be exactly normal with how much force you use to throw. I wasn’t too concerned, but it was a matter of covering the bases and that way we know for sure going into it instead of guessing around.”

Once cleared to resume throwing, Storen will still need to build up his arm strength and make several game appearances before Opening Day.

“He should be fine to open the season,” manager Davey Johnson said.

Even if that doesn’t happen, Storen won’t be upset as long as he’s healthy for the long haul. He wouldn’t have felt that way last year, both because of his uncertain status as the team’s closer and the club’s unlikelihood of contending for a postseason berth.

“Obviously last year would be a different story,” he said. “But the fact I have the job, and the fact we expect to be playing in the playoffs, what’s happening at the end of the year is more important than right now. …

“You can’t really cut corners, especially with this. You don’t want to cut a corner now and have it come back to bite you in the end when it really matters. We have the bullpen depth, if I do have to miss a little bit at the beginning, they’ll cover me and we’ll be fine.”

Meanwhile, first baseman Adam LaRoche is scheduled to get several at-bats in a minor-league game today, though he won’t run the bases. LaRoche (out with a bone bruise in his left foot) hopes to be back in the Nationals’ lineup within a few days.

“The last couple days have felt really good,” he said.

  1. Unkyd - Mar 23, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Um….. fingers crossed, just the same?

  2. bdrube - Mar 23, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    Gee, I had no idea that "strep throat" can lead to elbow inflammation. You learn something new everyday.

  3. NatsLady - Mar 23, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Saw a note on WaPo that Morse "has been instructed not to answer medical questions." Good. We have enough people playing doctor on the Internets.

  4. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    Boy they really like to throw us fans a lot of curves. Storen disappears from the face of the earth for a week or so. Come to find out he's fine just getting over a case of strep throat oh wait he's had a sore elbow and flew back to DC to have it checked. Hopefully rest and anti-inflammatories will do the trick. I'd hate to lose Storen. Although I do feel more comfortable about our bullpen situation then i do about losing Morse or Laroche for an extending period of time. The pen is loaded but the bench isn't. We have atleast 3 guys that have the 4 guys with the "Stuff" to close. Hopefully they have the head for it too. Clippard, Burnett, and Lidge have exp and H-Rod definatley has the stuff.DE NAT

  5. bdrube - Mar 23, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    Maybe all the speculation about Morse's health wouldn't be running rampant on the Internets if the Nats were straight up with what was ailing him. Instead, they start out by making it sound like he has a minor injury that will heal in a few days, that lingers, and lingers and lingers. Next thing you know, they're saying he has a small tear and likely won't be able to start the season.And it isn't like this is the first this has happened this way.

  6. Section 222 - Mar 23, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    Quick question about the DL: Let's assume that Storen starts the year on the 15 day DL. Can his stint on the DL be back dated to March 7 so he can come back as soon as he's ready, even on April 6, or does he have to wait until 15 days after the season starts? Or is there some other date in March that all DL stints to start the season begin? Same issue with Morse.

  7. Section 222 - Mar 23, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Boy they really like to throw us fans a lot of curves. They start out by making it sound like he has a minor injury that will heal in a few days, that lingers, and lingers and lingers. Next thing you know, they're saying he has a small tear and likely won't be able to start the season. I find this frustrating too. I'm starting to think, however, that it happens so often and makes them look so bad that it can't be intentional. Instead, they really don't know about injuries, or the extent of injuries, and rather than just say that, they paint a rosy picture based on incomplete information. Of course, in the case of Storen, it does seem like they pushed the "he's just sick" story long after they knew that he was having some arm pain. That's not good.

  8. Cwj - Mar 23, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    Good news about Storen. Though as Anon De Nat said in the second paragraph (disagree with the first), there are plenty of options in the BP should Storen miss any time.The Lidge signing was huge. Clippard is more than capable of pitching the 9th of course, but as the team's best reliever he's better off in those high-leverage 8th innings where he excels.Rodriguez could close successfully no doubt. But at the cost of many Insiders coming down with heartburn. Lidge is who I would put in the 9th if Storen misses any time. He's been there, done that, and appears to be healthy enough to throw that huge slider.BUT, hopefully Storen is fine.

  9. NatsLady - Mar 23, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    Re: injuries and DL stints.1) Pay no attention to Davey;2) Pay very little attention to the player (players almost always think they are ready or near to it);3) Pay some attention to beat reporters who might get a straight word out of a trainer once in a while;4) Pay the most attention to who is actually on the field and playing.Remember that injuries are not something we fans can prevent or cure.

  10. Feel Wood - Mar 23, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    Quick question about the DL: Let's assume that Storen starts the year on the 15 day DL. Can his stint on the DL be back dated to March 7 so he can come back as soon as he's ready, even on April 6, or does he have to wait until 15 days after the season starts?No, the DL doesn't exist until the season starts. Not sure how they define that date this year with the early opening in Japan for two teams. Probably it will be whatever date the team is required to specify its 25-man roster. At any rate, if Storen or Morse is only likely to miss a few days to start the season, they wouldn't put them on the DL, they would just carry them as part of the roster until they're ready. Storen doesn't pitch every day anyway, and Morse would probably be available to pinch hit.

  11. JamesFan - Mar 23, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    Nats are losing fan credibility with these shakey medical reports which almost always turn out to be worse than projected. Strep throat to elbow MRI is only the latest. If LaRoche may have a broken bone in his foot, say so. Better to lower expectations than to look like you are medically incompetent or deceptive in the end.

  12. NatsBrat - Mar 23, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    @ NatsLady:In order to stop posters, "…from playing doctor on the Internets" straight answers from real doctors who have examined injured Nats, e.g. Beast, Storen, etc. should suffice. Phoney PR s**t from FO or Davey won't do it!!!Everyone understands that injuries of guys who play a 162 game schedule are part of the game. Apparently BS from the Nats FO is too! Posters are only following the lead.

  13. John C. - Mar 23, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    Wait a minute – he had his elbow checked out? But I thought that Storen had pain in his biceps and triceps (upper arm muscles). And yes, I know that the tricep anchors into the lower arm through the UCL – that's why "tricep" and "elbow pain" together are much more concerning. I'm still not alarmed, but I'm now cautious & concerned. Set paranoia meter to four …

  14. MicheleS - Mar 23, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    How is this different from any other sport? Look at Football and Hockey, they are vague about injuries to protect the player, put everyone on the probable lists, etc. The only difference I see is that Baseball is not a contact sport. But do you really want the other team to know that ALR's ankle is so bad that they will drop bunt down the 1B line to test him or have an opposing pitcher bust someone inside to see if there is a problem with a wrist? It's all PR, they aren't going to tell us anything, because they don't want to tell the other teams anything.

  15. Cwj - Mar 23, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    NatsBrat- I think you may have been too harsh on NatsLady. The Nats are dealing out no more or less B.S. than any other team in MLB.There have been lots of "suspected" serious ailments this spring.

  16. Cwj - Mar 23, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    Off topic but sometimes I wonder if the Spring Training game schedule is too long.How about lots of training and only 15 games? Just might work :-) Why not?

  17. Cwj - Mar 23, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    NatsBrat- Re-read your post and you were not harsh on NatsLady. I misinterpreted.Sorry about that :-(

  18. NatsLady - Mar 23, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    Cwj — Yeah, I think he was harshing the Front Office. But, right, you are NOT going to get a straight answer out of them if there is any chance to fudge. I don't have a problem with that.Spring training is a little long. In the past, players were not paid as much as now, and they held other jobs in the winter and didn't show up in shape. Now professional baseball is a year-round occupation, they train off-season, many play winter ball (and get injured there). So the justification for the length of ST is not what it used to be, we are just dealing with inertia and Fla/AZ tourism. Good luck changing it.

  19. NatsLady - Mar 23, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Y'know, if Drew didn't have the MRI, we'd all be screaming, why doesn't he just have an MRI????So he has one, precautionary, and now everyone's worried because he wasn't supposed to be having elbow trouble. He said he wasn't having elbow trouble, because he'd talked to guys who did, and it wasn't the same. Give it a rest, people.

  20. PAY TO PLAY - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    Give me the same good news on Morse and LaRoche and lets make it a Trifecta!

  21. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    I spent 7 hours with a close friend in the hospital the other night. About 10 o'clock two very competent trauma surgeons said they weren't sure what was happening, couldn't predict at that point. They did say it didn't look good. My freind died at 1 am. Doctors–even brain surgeons (which one of them was)–are not able to see inside the human body and tell you everything that's going on. But we geniuses out here could help if they'd only give us a call.

  22. fpcsteve - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    I'm not real sure about baseball players giving the press and fans detailed info on their health. Where does their right to privacy end and a fan's right to know begin? I would err on the side of the players' right to keep matters regarding their health confidential. Their health is primarily a personal concern that is secondarily a professional matter. How many of you would give anyone a detailed accounting of your health just because they were interested in you, what you do, and how your health affects your performance? Not many, I imagine.

  23. Marcus Welby, M.D. - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    As any idiot knows, strep throat can easily spread to the elbow and cause elbow woes, especially in relief pitchers who appear every other day and throw 95 mph. Not to worry.As for Morse and LaRoche, they are being given the best of care. Both should live. Beyond that, we are making no promises.For more correct diagnoses we've made in the past, see Flores, Jesus. We nailed that one. But the tides changed on us. That's how he lost a year and a half because of surgery.So don't worry. We've got you covered.

  24. Cwj - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    Marcus Welby- Actually strep throat can spread to the heart and be potentially fatal if not treated with antibiotics. But yeah I get the sarcasm :-)

  25. hmmm... - Mar 23, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    anon 1:24 – first – sorry a out your friend. good point though.a doctor friend told me once that when she started med school, they were all told ' " only half of what we know will turn out to be right. and we don't know which half."add that to not wanting the rest of the league to know how to strategize about injuries seems to be common to all sports. i'll wait til i see what's on the field, not the training rooms.nats lady – all the wisdom of a voice teacher…

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