Drew Storen could return to the Nationals on Thursday

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Nationals reliever Drew Storen hasn’t appeared in a major league game this season due to problems with his throwing elbow. But that’s about ready to change.

According to CSN Washington’s Mark Zuckerman, the 24-year-old right-hander made a dominant one-inning rehab appearance Tuesday night at Class A Potomac and could be cleared to return to the Nationals’ bullpen as early as Thursday afternoon.

“I feel confident out there and I feel comfortable,” Storen told Zuckerman. “I think that’s the main thing. That’s what you try to get in spring training. I treated these rehab appearances like they were spring training, and I’m really happy with where I’m at.”

Storen posted a 2.75 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 74/20 K/BB ratio across 75 1/3 innings last season for the Nationals, converting 43 saves in 48 opportunities. He owns a 3.10 career ERA and 8.68 career K/9.

Tyler Clippard has been acting as the Nats’ closer for the past several weeks and will remain in that role.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves