Drew Storen plays catch, says elbow “felt really good”

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Nationals closer Drew Storen hasn’t ruled out being ready for Opening Day after testing his injured elbow by throwing from flat ground yesterday and reporting no problems.

However, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post he still “seems likely to begin the season on the disabled list” in part because Storen has pitched in just two games all spring.

Tests have shown no structural damage and Storen told Kilgore that his elbow “felt really good” the morning after throwing and any problem “is gone.”

If he does begin the season on the DL the Nationals are likely to go with veteran free agent signing Brad Lidge as the fill-in closer, leaving Tyler Clippard in his familiar setup role.

Phillies pause Jerad Eickhoff’s rehab

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Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff hasn’t pitched in the majors yet this season as he suffered a lat injury in mid-March and has been on the disabled list since. He started a rehab stint in the minors last week, making a start for Double-A Reading on May 15 and another start for Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Sunday.

Meghan Montemurro of The Athletic reports that Eickhoff went a twinge in the fingertips of his right index and middle fingers late in Sunday’s outing after throwing a curve and on the subsequent pitch. The Phillies have paused Eickhoff’s rehab as a result and will evaluate him further.

Eickhoff went on the disabled list in late August last year due to nerve irritation in his right hand, so this latest setback could be related to that.

Eickhoff showed promise early in his career, posting a combined 3.44 ERA in 41 starts between 2015-16. He struggled to a 4.71 ERA last year before ending his season early with the nerve issue. Eickhoff was one of the many prospects the Phillies got from the Rangers in the Cole Hamels trade.