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Storen activated, Ankiel DFA’d

Jul 19, 2012, 2:56 PM EDT

The Nationals activated reliever Drew Storen off the disabled list and designated outfielder Rick Ankiel for assignment before today’s series finale against the Mets, moves that leave the club at least temporarily with an eight-man bullpen and four-man bench.

Storen, out since spring training with a bone spur in his right elbow that required surgery, will be available today to make his season debut and could be manager Davey Johnson’s best option to close after Tyler Clippatd struggled each of the last two nights.

The right-hander made six appearances on a minor-league rehab assignment with Class A Potomac and Class AA Harrisburg, but it was his most recent appearance Tuesday (a 1-2-3 inning featuring two strikeouts) that convinced club officials he was ready to come off the DL.

The Nationals plan to ease Storen back into a late-inning role and won’t hand him back the closer’s job he held last season when he saved 43 games. But with Clippard making back-to-back appearances Tuesday and Wednesday nights — and giving up three home runs between the two games — Johnson may need to summon someone else to pitch the ninth inning of today’s game if the Nationals hold a late lead.
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  1. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    SO does this mean we can look forward to Edwin Jackson pinch-running more? Strasburg pinch-hitting, maybe?

  2. MicheleS - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    Hope Rick can get on with another team, good guy, good defensive CF. Best of luck to him (and sadly, Happy Birthday.)

  3. Diz - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    Sucks for Ank, cause it sounded like he was really good for the "Kid". Can't complain, cause he was a great team guy and I hope we can bring him back for the call ups in Sept.Just wished he would lay off the high fastball with two strikes.

  4. djinFl. - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    They just could not pick a reliever to move!Maybe when they get through this stretch of consecutive games they will make another adjustment. Strass could join the goon squad on his free days, as that extra bat.

  5. #4 - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    So at some point the Nats need to add a position player. They can't go with a four man bench for too long. Werth's still weeks away I would think. Corey Brown? He would seem to make sense, although he and Bernadina offer similar things. It's just that with the current configuration, there will always be one sub-par defensive OF in there, even in the late innings.

  6. #4 - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    The eight man bullpen stays through the week-end to get through 5 games in four days. Maybe they could make a move before Sunday's game if the starters can both go deep on Saturday.

  7. NatsLady - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    Had to do it, with Harper proving he can play CF and Werth close. But it makes me very sad. I don't think he will get picked up easily by another team, because the contention teams won't have much use for a .228 hitter with low OBP, and the non-contending teams want younger guys. So there's a chance he could go into our minors and re-emerge in September. But if he's hurt, he might just take the rest of the season off and try again next spring.The image of him with Harper's bloody face, and the great throw to third, etc., etc.–lots memories, including that hot streak this spring.

  8. Feel Wood - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    MicheleS said… Hope Rick can get on with another team, good guy, good defensive CF. Best of luck to him (and sadly, Happy Birthday.)Hope the scoreboard operators remembered to take Ankiel's name out of the Happy Birthday list that will go up on the big screen during today's game.

  9. MicheleS - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    Well, here is one suggestion for the ARMPeter Gammons‏@pgammoRick Ankiel would be a great fit for the Yankees

  10. Doc - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    Sad to see The Arm go. Maybe, since he's on a minor league contract????, he'll end up in 'Cuse.Hard for Davey & Co. to send Matteus or Stam down, when they are contributing to the more important aspect of the game. And MPHRod would be an option, but he's out of options.Davey doesn't like having a 4 man bench; maybe, as suggested by djinFL we could put SS to work. Heck the Nats have at least 2 SP who can hit as well off the bench as the bench guys.

  11. NatsLady - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    #4, maybe they don't bring up Lannan for the double-header. Maybe they bring up a position player (especially with Desi's situation)and go with a "bullpen game." If Stammen only does one inning today, he could easily go four on Saturday, then let Gorzy and co. finish it and tell EJax he's going eight or nine for the other game no matter what. Chances are there is weather, so whatever plan you make will involve rain delays…Lombo is no Espinosa at second base. Adequate, at best. He might actually be better in LF.

  12. SCNatsFan - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    Ankiel won't be any better anywhere else then he was here. He is what he is – great arm and range, looks lost at the plate, has the occasional game/at bat that makes fan drool over the potential. He isn't a prominent player on any team that hopes to win every day.

  13. Feel Wood - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    So at some point the Nats need to add a position player. They can't go with a four man bench for too long. Werth's still weeks away I would think. Corey Brown?Not happening. Between now and the time Werth comes back, they will need to find space on the 25 man roster for X. Nady, Chad Tracy and C.M. Wang who are coming off the 15 day DL and can't be sent down. Then when Werth returns off the 60 day DL, they will need to clear space on the 40 man roster. This means another two or possibly even three guys beyond Ankiel are going to be DFA. In an environment like that, where there are already three rookie position players on the 25 man roster, there's no room to call up another rookie no matter how much he's raking in AAA.

  14. #4 - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    I don't know NL. Isn't the Lannan call-up a freebie? I thought there was some provision concerning double-headers that allowed a 26th roster spot. Maybe I'm wrong.

  15. NatsLady - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    Tcostant–yeah, I saw that. I have in the back of my mind some other pitcher saying that right before he was DFA'd (not sure it was a Met). Maybe he wants to get a last word in, but given his work last night, I would think he would just, yknow, shut up and hope he keeps his job.

  16. Feel Wood - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    #4, maybe they don't bring up Lannan for the double-header. Maybe they bring up a position player (especially with Desi's situation)and go with a "bullpen game."No. With four games within less than 48 hours over the weekend, in the midst of 17 straight days without an off day, even with an 8 man bullpen there's no room for a "bullpen game."

  17. NatsLady - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    #4, yes, the Lannan call up is a freebie. So would calling up Corey Brown for a day (unless it would affect his options, and at his age I wouldn't worry about his options.Which would you rather have, Lannan for a few innings before the rain delay, or a bat off the bench?

  18. SCNatsFan - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    Feel Wood I can't ever see Nady in a Nats uniform again; I can't see him on the roster, barring injury, over Moore or Bernadina. Tracy, he's a hard one; don't know you can carry more then two of Moore, DeRosa and Nady if you assume Bernie is going to stay here.Wang…. God knows what to do with him. Maybe Dykstra has another son we could get for him.

  19. #4 - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    I think I'd rather have Lannan – even for a few innings. I agree with Feel Wood's point above. Not having an additional bat could cost you a game. Wearing out your bullpen can cause longer lasting damage.

  20. NatsLady - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    Report on CMW from last night:Wang gave up three runs on three hits and two walks. His apologists, who are legion, will take comfort in the 10 groundball outs. But the three hits were two doubles and a triple, and none of them would have been turned into outs by a major-league outfield.–Luke Erikson

  21. Steady Eddie - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    #4 — no, you are correct. Extra player allowed for a doubleheader under the new CBA.

  22. NatsLady - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    #4, you are going to wear out the bullpen anyway, most likely. The chances of playing four games this weekend without a bunch of rain delays are nil, and Lannan can't/won't pitch out of the bullpen. He'll get warmed up, pitch an inning or two and if he doesn't get knocked out, there will be a two-hour delay, and that'll be the end of that. I'd rather have the bat.

  23. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    Love Ankiel's professionalism and heart. If only he could have learned to lay off that high hard one out of the zone. He never, ever hit it, but he always tried. Competitive sports is the ultimate meritocracy. The Nats have better options than Rick. It's not personal.He was a willing mentor to the guy who replaced him, and even helped the young pitchers with advice on the mental and physical aspects of their games. Given the options, though, it was the right move.I suspect Davey will use Strasburg as a PH now. Frankly, he is the best hitter on the bench, and, sad to say, much better than Rick. Bernie has been the LH guy off the bench, and has been great in that role. When Tracy returns, Davey will have the left side of the plate covered. I don't see why they would bring Nady back when they've got TyMo, but someone goes when Werth comes back – probably the extra BP hurler.Forget about Henry being DFA'd. The Mets would pick him up in a heartbeat, and he would haunt the Nats for years to come. When the time comes, they will option either Stammen or Matheus back to Syracuse for a few weeks, until they can bring them back up in September.A trade? Anyone who can read Rizzo's mind is way ahead of me.

  24. #4 - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    I can't see Matheus being sent down right now. Davey was using him as the designated "get David Wright out" guy the last two nights. He has a lot of confidence in him.

  25. Steady Eddie - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    #4 — "Wearing out your bullpen can cause longer-lasting damage."Exactly. Exhibit A, the 2011 Atlanta Braves.Exactly what Davey is determined to avoid.

  26. NatsLady - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    But, if I were a betting person, I'd bet they bring up Lannan because they as good as promised it to him and they lined up the Syracuse rotation for it. I wouldn't say it's 100%, though, because Davey and Rizzo have surprised before.

  27. greg - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    actually, i don't think corey brown could be a freebie callup for the DH this weekend. pretty sure he has to be on the 40 man roster to get that callup, so they'd still have to make room for him there first before they could have him as the 26th man for saturday.

  28. NatsLady - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    Eddie, I would agree, but Davey is a puzzlement to me. First he says–repeatedly–that his starters have to be more efficient and that he's going to leave them in longer. Now he's not. I would not have left Det in beyond the 7th given his history, but what stopped Davey from leaving JZ in last night? He said he wanted a young pitcher to have a "good experience," yada yada. That was in the same presser he said JZ was a "man out there." Then he DFA's Ankiel for another reliever? Predicting how Davey will manage for the long-term is like predicting the rain. You don't know how or when, but he will make it rain.

  29. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    Feel Wood -Why would the Nats bring back Nady? Sure, they can option Moore back to AAA, but why would they do that when he is producing at a much higher level than Nady? If they DFA'd Nady, no one else would pick him up. If they really, really want to keep him, they could sign him to a MiL deal, just like they did last spring before promoting him to the bigs.DeRosa? Gee whiz, I know Davey loves him. If they want him on the bench make him a coach, and get a RH guy who can both hit off the bench and give the Nats some D, somewhere. Or some speed, at least. They just let Xavier Paul go about a week ago. He seemed like a better player than DeRosa, to me, on many counts. Am I missing something?

  30. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    if I understand correctly, Ankiel is not lost to us. Within 10 days, Nats can release some other player or reliever and add him back to 40-man roster, correct?

  31. NatsLady - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    greg, Corey Brown's not on the 40-man? I thought he was.

  32. JD - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    NatsLady, Every one assumes that JZimm should now be allowed to pitch as many innings and pitches per game as a seasoned veteran but I think the Nats are still somewhat cautious about him; he will pitch way more this year than he's ever pitched before so when he gets to 95 pitches through 6 Davie does not want to send him out for the 7th and potentially get to 125 pitches. I don't think it's quite the mixed message we think it is.

  33. NatsLady - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    JD, good point, but often Davey will send the pitcher out for one batter and see how it goes. Maybe he decided that policy is hard on the relievers–I always thought it was.

  34. SonnyG10 - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    Maybe Rick could re-invent his career as a pitcher again.

  35. JD - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    I don't like the bullpen by committee idea because I don't want to lose the chance of using Stammen and Gorzo for 4 days. I don't think you can bring the weather into your planning because it's way too unpredictable; I think Jackson and Lannan will have to go reasonably deep into their games and if it costs us a game so be it.

  36. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    NatsLadyCorey was waived last November. Anyone could have claimed him off waivers (like they did Komatsu) but no one did. Because he cleared waivers, Corey is Nats' property for the rest of this season, even though he is not on the 40-man. They took a big chance on putting him through waivers, apparently believing Corey was not worth protecting last November. But now they have to make room on the 40-man by letting someone else go if they want to bring him up now. Corey is the best LH hitting OF in the organization now, but Rizzo boxed himself in last November by taking him off the 40-man roster. Bet he wishes he could have a do-over on that.

  37. Feel Wood - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    Laddie Blah Blah said… Feel Wood -Why would the Nats bring back Nady?I'm pretty sure they can't DFA a player while he is on the DL. The question would be whether they can DFA a player who has completed a rehab assignment and is coming off the DL without putting him back on the active roster first. If they don't have to activate him at that point, then I agree there is no reason to bring him back. The same goes for Wang.

  38. NCNatsie - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    Laddie Blah Blah said: "Love Ankiel's professionalism and heart. If only he could have learned to lay off that high hard one out of the zone. He never, ever hit it, but he always tried."Isn't that almost exactly what Dottie said about her sister Kit after she got traded?

  39. Feel Wood - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    Corey Brown is on the 40 man roster. He could not have been called up for that week or so earlier this season if he wasn't.

  40. JD - Jul 19, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    When discussing the bullpen situation you have to stop worrying about the options situation. Mattheus, Gonzalez and Stammen are way more reliable than Henry and we are in a playoff race. I get wanting to protect an asset and I'm sure Rizzo will talk Henry up at every opportunity but I bet you if anyone (not our direct competition) offers him a middle of the road prospect for Henry he'd do it in a heart beat.

  41. hiramhover - Jul 19, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  42. hiramhover - Jul 19, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    Couple things:1. Corey Brown is on the 40 man roster currently.2. "Davey is a puzzlement to me"–Davey is a savvy manager, and maybe a slightly daft old man. Or maybe he's a really savvy manager playing a slightly daft old man for the cameras. Either way, my policy is to ignore most of what he says, except for comic relief, and just watch what he does.

  43. JD - Jul 19, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    hiramhover, Good policy. Same goes for Rizzo. BTW, I can't believe Flores is playing again today. Maybe they didn't want to subject Leon to the knuckle ball in his 1st game back.

  44. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 19, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    Feel WoodThanks for the info.

  45. SonnyG10 - Jul 19, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    Acording to Nats web site, Corey Brown is on the 40 man roster…but Jayson Werth isn't.

  46. sm13 - Jul 19, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    When,if ever, has a Nats opening day cf lasted a whole season as the regular? Will Bryce break that curse next year?

  47. Steady Eddie - Jul 19, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    Nats Lady — I think the important part in Davey's mind is the more efficient part, and I suspect he's emphasized that with the starters in private, far more than the "so you'll go deeper"part. He knows what the pace of a playoff season looks like, and even apart from the Stras shutdown as such, he knows that 3 of his five starters have never pitched an entire season before, let alone added up to 4-6 playoff starts to that.

  48. sm13 - Jul 19, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    I'll miss Rick. Nice guy, with a great story of redemption, and a rocket arm. He won quite a few games for us, mosty with his glove and arm, but even a few with his bat. Happy Trails Ank!

  49. Feel Wood - Jul 19, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    SonnyG10 said… Acording to Nats web site, Corey Brown is on the 40 man roster…but Jayson Werth isn't.Jayson Werth is on the 60 day DL. Players on the 60 day DL are not counted on the 40 man roster. When he comes off the DL, someone will have to go to make room for him.

  50. baseballswami - Jul 19, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    Heard a fantastic interview with McCatty on , of all places, 107 the Fan. He is just awesome, and quite blunt – funny as all get out. Then they followed it up by not realizing there was a double header Saturday, not knowing that you can call up a pitcher to start and suggesting that Tyler Moore could get sent down for one day. Um, I don't think that's allowed? From the sublime to the ridiculous in about 10 minutes. Sheesh. Good luck to the ARM. Take several deep breaths going into this weekend. At least Atlanta got beat and beat up last night.

  51. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 19, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    SonnyG"Corey Brown is on the 40 man roster…but Jayson Werth isn't."You're right. The Nats moved Brown back onto the 40-man when Werth went on the DL, and they brought him up for a cup of coffee visit shortly thereafter. I remembered the waiver process and forgot the call-up.

  52. baseballswami - Jul 19, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    Feel Wood — doesn't Ank coming off the 40 man make a spot for Jayson Werth? I don't think Drew went to the 60 day dl, so I don't think he came off the 40? Maybe?

  53. NatsLady - Jul 19, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    Yeah, I said myself over and over again. Just momentarily forgot my own advice.Either way, my policy is to ignore most of what he says, except for comic relief, and just watch what he does.

  54. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Jul 19, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    Swami, Drew was indeed on the 60-day DL. Moving Ankiel made room for him.

  55. UnkyD - Jul 19, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    Beat me to it, Feel. Brown is on the 40 man, ever since he came up earlier. And since he has been up and down this year, his options wouldn't be affected, NatsLady…

  56. Unknown - Jul 19, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    The problem with Ankiel is that he had a huge hole in his bat and the strikeouts got more frequent as the season progressed. Will miss his defensive abilities in CF and his great arm though. Going to a bigger bull pen is a smart move since several of the relievers are giving indications of burnout, especially Clip.

  57. Kirbs - Jul 19, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    Thank you Rick for the gun we have seen in CF!!!

  58. Tcostant - Jul 19, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    Wood – FYI – Nady could be DFA after his rehab time is up, no rule says he needs to go back to the 25 roster first.

  59. natsfan1a - Jul 20, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    Happy birthday, thanks, and good luck to Rick, whose throws are teh awesomez!1!

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