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Storen likely 2 weeks from return


Storen likely 2 weeks from return

ATLANTA -- Drew Storen took another important step today in his return from elbow surgery -- one of his final steps -- when he threw 40 pitches to live hitters in the cage at Turner Field prior to the Nationals' series opener against the Braves.

Though the Nationals aren't setting an exact timetable for the reliever's activation off the disabled list, the club's July 13 second-half opener in Miami is a target date.

"I'd say that's probably a really good timeframe there," maanger Davey Johnson said.

"I mean, it seems logical," Storen added.

Storen, who has yet to pitch this season following surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow, will throw a two-inning, simulated game on Monday in Washington, then begin a rehab assignment with a minor-league affiliate sometime later in the week. That would give him ample time to make several game appearances (including on back-to-back days) before conceivably joining the Nationals for their second-half opener against the Marlins.

Storen was at first surprised during today's live BP session when batters Chad Tracy and Jhonatan Solano were consistently making solid contact off him.

"I was thinking: Man, they're seeing it pretty well," he said.

After the session, Storen learned that bullpen catcher Nilson Robledo was letting the hitters know what pitches were about to be thrown.

"Once I figured that out, I felt much better about it," Storen said.

Storen also feels great about the state of his elbow, which he says feels stronger now than it did while he was recording 43 saves last season. Only now does he realize he was probably dealing with the injury at the time.

"I'm pretty amazed," he said. "Even last year, after you're done pitching it would be a little swollen. I just thought that was normal. Now it feels really good."

Though he can see the finish line at last after three months of recovery and rehabilitation, Storen is wary of thinking too far ahead or just assuming he's in the clear now.

"This last 10 percent of the rehab is just as important as the beginning," he said. "It's kind of like doing a big school project. You've just got to do the annoying little things. You've got to do the bibliography. You really don't want to do it, but you're going to get counted off if you don't."

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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats. 


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Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.

Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:

It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.

Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.