Storen encouraged after facing live hitters

Storen encouraged after facing live hitters

Storen encouraged after facing live hitters
BALTIMORE -- Drew Storen's recovery from April surgery continues to go as planned, with a return around the All-Star break still the target.

Storen threw to live hitters for the first time Friday afternoon, unleashing about 15 pitches to teammates Rick Ankiel and Jhonatan Solano that he said were all fastballs. Pleased with the sink on those pitches, the next step for Storen will be pitching in simulated games. The dates of those will be determined after seeing how his upcoming throwing sessions transpire.

"Once I really start throwing to guys without second-guessing, that'll probably be the true test," Storen said.

Manager Davey Johnson was also impressed with Storen's progress, which has stayed consistent since the surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow.

"I thought he threw the ball well," Johnson said. "All the reports I got was, and I talked to him afterwards, he felt good. I'd say he probably cut it loose maybe 80 to 85 percent. That's pretty good the first time out seeing hitters. No adrenaline rush or nothing, and he didn't have any difficulty or discomfort or anything, and that's great."

In other reliever news, Johnson added that Henry Rodriguez should need only two or three more rehab appearances after his first two.

"The first one was outstanding, the second one he threw good," Johnson said. "He didn't throw any balls erratically -- missed the strike zone a little, but he threw the ball well, 96-100 [mph]. [He] walked a couple but still got 'em out."