MIAMI -- When Drew Storen set out to begin his rehab stint 12 days ago, the Nationals reliever expressed confidence his time in the minor leagues would be brief.
The Nationals' plan for Storen called for four rehab appearances before he would make his season debut Friday night as the club came out of the All-Star break.
Storen, of course, never appeared in Miami. And when the Nationals open a key, seven-game homestand tonight against the Mets, he'll be 30 miles down the road in Woodbridge, making another rehab stint with Class A Potomac.
This will be the right-hander's sixth minor-league game, and the previous five have featured mixed results. That includes Sunday's appearance at Class AA Harrisburg, when Storen gave up four runs on three hits (including a homer) and a walk in only two-thirds of an inning.
"I think his outing was fine," manager Davey Johnson said yesterday. "I talked to the pitching coach down there, the manager felt like probably one more outing and his command would get a little better, that his breaking ball would be more consistent."
The issue, as Johnson pointed out, has been Storen's command, which has been slow to return following his April surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow.
"I'm not worried about his velocity or the strength of his arm," Johnson said. "I think his arm is in great shape."
The Nationals hope tonight's game at Potomac is Storen's last in the minors. If all goes well, they plan to activate him off the disabled list before Thursday's game.