The Nationals have relied on Tyler Clippard as their primary closer in recent days, but he could return to his familiar set-up role before long.
According to Amanda Comak of the Washington Times, Drew Storen recently began throwing off a mound following April surgery to remove a bone chip from his right elbow. He threw for the first time on Friday and again today.
While Nationals manager Davey Johnson sensed that Storen was a little disappointed by the results today, he also said that the 24-year-old right-hander “had no problems after throwing” and is “right on track.” We should getting a better sense of his timeline in the next week or two, but he currently hopes to rejoin the Nationals’ bullpen around the All-Star break.
Storen, who was selected 10th overall in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, owns a 3.10 ERA over his first 127 relief appearances in the big leagues.
Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.
The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.
The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.