Trio of Nats relievers progressing in rehab

Trio of Nats relievers progressing in rehab

WASHINGTON -- Injured closer Drew Storen has played catch daily for about a week now, and threw off a mound "a couple times," but the Nationals' training staff still tells manager Davey Johnson that Storen is at least three weeks away from returning from April surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow.

"We're going to have him here in about a week, and I'll have a better idea once I've seen him and talked to him," Johnson said. "[Pitching coach Steve] McCatty feels the same way. I think he can come back pretty quick, and hopefully it will be ahead of the schedule the trainers have set out for him."

Johnson believes his pitching staff, from the rotation to the bullpen, is the best in baseball, and it could also welcome relievers Ryan Mattheus and Henry Rodriguez soon.

Mattheus pitched twice this week for Class A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg, and Johnson said he the right-hander is getting close to a return from the plantar fascia strain in his left foot that landed him on the 15-day disabled list.

Johnson said Rodriguez, who temporarily held the closer role earlier this season, could begin rehab from his strained right index finger Saturday or Sunday.