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Storen regaining his edge


Storen regaining his edge

NEW YORK -- Davey Johnson has tried his best to ease Drew Storen back from elbow surgery, not wanting to put too much on the right-hander too soon.

But during this week's series against the Mets, the Nationals manager found himself needing a quality reliever to face the red-hot David Wright in a couple of key spots. So the call was made to Storen, who may not be throwing many pitches right now but is certainly throwing important pitches.

Storen threw only six total pitches in the series. All were to Wright during two encounters. And each time, the young reliever retired the New York slugger.

"No better way to get yourself in shape than to face a guy like that, especially in big spots," he said. "Like I said the other day, just kind of keep adding the pressure of facing the same guy. It's pretty fun, to be honest with you, to face a really good hitter like that and have a battle like that with the game on the line. Can't really ask for much more than that."

On Monday night, Storen replaced starter Jordan Zimmermann for the bottom of the seventh inning, with the Nationals clinging to a 2-1 lead and Wright leading off. He threw all of two pitches, both 93 mph fastballs, the first one nearly taking Wright's head off before he got him to fly out to center field.

Then on Wednesday afternoon, Storen was summoned for a tenser situation: Two outs, two runners in scoring position, Wright at the plate representing the tying run.

This time, Storen started the slugger off with three straight sliders. He fell behind in the count 2-0, got Wright to look at a strike on the inside corner and then jammed him with a 95 mph fastball, inducing a groundball to third base.

He pounded his glove and let out a jubilant scream as Ryan Zimmerman made the throw to first to retire Wright and end the inning, perhaps his first truly big out since late last season.

At last, Storen is starting to feel like himself again.

"Yeah, absolutely," he said. "And that's what those situations, that's what's going to get me back. Faced an unbelievable hitter on the road in a big spot, with a sweep on the line, protecting a great performance by Stephen Strasburg."

Johnson didn't want to have to use Storen at all during the game, not after he pitched Monday and then warmed up in the bullpen Tuesday.

"I'm trying to jump start him a little, to get back to where he was," the manager said. "But he told me he was OK, and that was a situation I needed him badly. And he came in and worked on his breaking ball. So he's awful close."

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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.