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.
Phil Hughes was officially designated for assignment by the Twins on Tuesday, the culmination of multiple injury-plagued seasons and poor performance.
Things couldn’t have started out much better for Hughes in Minnesota. The former Yankees hurler joined the Twins on a three-year, $24 million contract in December of 2013 and reeled off a 3.52 ERA over 32 starts during his first season with the club. He set the MLB record (which still stands, by the way) for single season strikeout-to-walk ratio and even received some downballot Cy Young Award consideration. The big year resulted in the two sides ripping up their previous agreement with a new five-year, $58 million deal, but it was all downhill after that.
Hughes took a step back with a 4.40 ERA in 2015 and struggled with a 5.95 ERA over 11 starts and one relief appearance in 2016 before undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. He wasn’t any better upon his return last year, putting up a 5.87 ERA in nine starts and five relief appearances. Hughes missed time with a biceps issue and required a thoracic outlet revision surgery in August. He began this year on the disabled list with an oblique injury, only to put up a 6.75 ERA over two starts and five relief appearances before the Twins decided to turn the page this week.
Hughes is still owed the remainder of his $13.2 million salary for this year and another $13.2 million next year. The deal didn’t work out as anyone would have hoped, but unfortunately this is another case of health just not cooperating.