Storen appreciates how far he's come this year

Storen appreciates how far he's come this year

WASHINGTON -- Drew Storen closed out Thursday's victory over the Dodgers that clinched the Nationals' first playoff spot, and it meant a lot to the right-hander for many reasons.

Storen missed the first 89 games of the season following surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow in the spring. But he took the time to recover properly, made it back and enjoyed closing out the big win over Los Angeles.

"Last night was nice, because I felt like I was really contributing," Storen said. "It was just kind of a little icing on the cake. It made all those long mornings [doing rehab] in Viera [Fla.] worth it."

Storen said that since he returned in July, he's been able to put the worry about his elbow out of his head when pitching.

But Storen said he worked hard during rehab, while not trying to rush. He wanted to get back at his best and be able to really help the Nationals again -- especially since the team had started so well.

"I just kept saying 'Take your time, do it right, and when you get back, you're going to be part of a good thing,'" Storen said.

Storen entered Friday's series opener with Milwaukee 2-1 with three saves and a 2.59 ERA in 31 games since returning.