Jan 18, 2013, 12:30 AM EDT
Though he went out of his way to use the words “Drew Storen” and “closer” together multiple times, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo left no doubt who will be handed the ball for the ninth inning come Opening Day: The guy he just gave $28 million.
“Suffice it to say, Raffy is here to pitch the ninth inning,” Rizzo said while introducing Rafael Soriano Thursday afternoon at Nationals Park. “He has done it successfully everywhere he has been, and we expect him to continue that.”
At the same time, Rizzo seemed to make it clear he intends to keep both Storen and Tyler Clippard and give manager Davey Johnson as many quality relievers as possible to pitch the late innings of close games. Storen, who dominated down the stretch last season until his blown save in Game 5 of the NLDS, will likely serve as Johnson’s “B” closer.
“Drew Storen is a closer,” Rizzo said. “He’s going to be a closer. He’s got closer stuff. He’s got a closer mentality. By no means the signing of Rafael Soriano was based on one inning and one game at the end of the season.”
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
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