Storen makes Nats spring debut

Storen makes Nats spring debut

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Nationals right-hander Drew Storen pitched in his first Spring Training game during a 15-5 loss to the Astros on Thursday.

Storen, the 10th overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, entered the game in the bottom of the sixth inning with the Astros leading, 11-5. Storen was able to use his fastball, two-seamer, curveball and slider. He threw nine pitches, eight of which went for strikes.

Infielder Chris Shelton was the first hitter Storen faced, and Shelton grounded out to shortstop Danny Espinosa.

Chris Johnson followed and struck out on a curveball. The next hitter was catcher Jason Castro, who caught Storen when both attended Stanford University. Before the at-bat, the two faced each other in the Arizona Fall League, and Castro drew a walk. In Thursday's game, Castro hit a hard grounder to second baseman Seth Bynum, who threw out Castro to end the inning.

"I wouldn't say it was easy, but it was quick," Storen said. "I was just trying to throw strikes, really. I felt good. It's always good having the defense out there."

Ask what it was like to face Castro, Storen said, "I think he knows what's coming after catching me for a year. He knows how I like to work. I'm just glad I came out on top of that one."

While they have not ruled out Storen making the team out of Spring Training, the Nationals would rather see him develop in the Minor Leagues.

"Storen had time in the Minor Leagues, but it was fairly limited. He did have the Arizona Fall League," manager Jim Riggleman said. "But it's still going to be: Do we feel like it's going to be better for him to go down [in the Minors]? Or he is just so dominating that we can't pass up the opportunity -- just start him out here with us? The time that he pitched [in the Minors and AFL] last year helped his cause. That's for sure."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.