WASHINGTON -- Activated from the disabled list earlier on Thursday, Drew Storen made his season debut in the ninth inning of the Nationals' 9-5 loss to the Mets.
Storen, who underwent surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow in April, sent David Wright, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Jason Bay down in order on nine pitches, five of which were strikes. The 24-year-old right-hander forced Wright to ground out on the first pitch he threw, impressive in its own right considering the Mets third baseman terrorized the Nats with two home runs and five RBIs on the day.
"It was pretty emotional for me, to be honest with you," Storen said. "To cap it off, it was a great ovation from the fans, and it really means a lot. It really kind of makes this 3-4 months seem a little bit shorter. I was under control out there and I felt like I had command. That's all I was looking for."
The Nats have said Storen will be eased back into the bullpen before any consideration is given to him reclaiming his role as closer.
Last year, Storen saved 43 games for the Nats, finishing with a 6-3 record and a 2.75 ERA in his second season in the Majors. His roommate and closest friend on the team, Tyler Clippard, took over the closer's role in late May. His late struggles notwithstanding, Clippard has excelled, picking up 15 saves in 17 opportunities with a 2.42 ERA in 22 1/3 innings.
"I thought he was a little rusty, but he threw strikes," manager Davey Johnson said of Storen's outing. "I was real pleased he got a chance and went 1-2-3. I figured he was going to throw a bunch of pitches the first time out, but that was good."