Nats' Storen Will Move Quickly To Big Leagues

WASHINGTON — After learning the differences between hitters in the Pacific-10 Conference, South Atlantic League, Carolina League and Eastern League last year, righthanded relief prospect Drew Storen was up for an even bigger challenge this spring.

The 10th pick from the 2009 draft showed why he's viewed as a future major league closer—with the future perhaps not far away. Before he was assigned to Double-A Harrisburg, Storen pitched well in major league spring training.

"Pitching down is the key," Storen said of facing major league hitters. "These guys don't care how hard it is. You have to tell yourself, 'I need to pitch.' You can't try to out-stuff these guys."

At the start of the season, the Nationals had an entirely new bullpen from the group that began 2009. Storen, though, was not yet part of it, which was no surprise considering he's 22 and less than a year removed from being a draft-eligible sophomore at Stanford.

Storen, though, had an even faster plan in mind when he signed last June for a below-slot $1.6 million bonus. The way he saw it, making it to Washington was a realistic goal last summer. After all, he had seen Chad Cordero reach the majors the same year he was drafted out of Cal State Fullerton.

While serving as a batboy for the Reds, the Indiana native Storen met then-Expos (and eventual Nationals) closer Cordero. Ever since, he has followed a similar career path.
Storen fell short of his high aspiration in 2009, but he did go 2-1, 1.95 ERA over 37 innings between low Class A, high Class A and Double-A.

Storen is keeping his sights set on the big leagues, but is also taking things one step at a time.
"I just want to stay with the same routine—the same exercises, the same thing every day," Storen said. "I can't go back and forth based on whether I had a good outing or a bad outing."


• Righthander Juan Jaime had Tommy John surgery late in spring training, according to farm director Doug Harris. The 22-year-old was coming off a season in which he struck out 76 in 56 innings between short-season Vermont and low Class A Hagerstown.

• Ian Desmond, who beat out Cristian Guzman for the starting shortstop job, and lefthanded reliever Jesse English were the two rookies who made the 25-man major league roster out of spring training.