April 12th, 2012
According to Bill Ladson, Washington Nationals’ closer Drew Storen had minor elbow surgery on Wednesday to remove bone fragments from his right elbow. Their is no official timetable for his return, but the Nationals are hoping Storen can return around the All Star break.
Storen was pretty nasty in his first full year as Nationals’ closer in 2011. He compiled an 8.8 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, a 47.3 percent Ground Ball Percentage, and a 2.75 ERA in 75.1 innings. His presence that the back of the Nationals’ bullpen will be sorely missed.
The good news for National fans is that Washington has two very capable replacements for Storen late in games — Brad Lidge and Henry Rodriguez (and not the same Henry Rodriguez of Montreal Expo fame in the mid-90′s, who had the O’Henry candy bar named after him). Of the two, Rodriguez is the better choice to close things out.
The 25-year-old Rodriguez has been really impressive over the past two seasons. He averages 97+ on his fastball and features a nasty slider and change up. From 2010 – 2011, Rodriguez has 103 K’s in 93.1 innings and has only given up three HR’s over that span.
Rodriguez does have a tendency to get wild as his 6.1 BB/9 in 2011 indicates, but Rodriguez pitched more innings in the eighth inning than any other inning in 2011 (23.1 IP). If Davey Johnson trusts him in the eighth with that wild control, I don’t see why he wouldn’t trust him in the ninth.
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