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Storen breaks thumb slamming locker shut

Sep 12, 2015, 6:39 PM EDT

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Drew Storen’s late-season meltdown hit a new low Saturday when the Nationals revealed their struggling reliever broke his right thumb slamming shut a door in his locker after giving up the decisive home run in Wednesday’s loss to the Mets.

Storen will likely miss the final three weeks of the season, manager Matt Williams told reporters in Miami. And given his request to be traded earlier this summer, his career in Washington may well be over.

Thus concluded a disastrous week for Storen, who allowed the winning runs to score against the Mets on consecutive days, giving up a bases-loaded double and then three straight walks during Tuesday’s loss and then serving up a 2-run homer to Yoenis Cespedes during the eighth inning Wednesday.

Those losses all but knocked the Nationals out of the pennant race; they entered the week only 4 games behind New York in the NL East but lost 4 1/2 games in the standings over the next five days to leave themselves everything but mathematically eliminated.

Storen was front-and-center for much of the Nationals’ second-half collapse. After posting a 1.73 ERA and 29 saves in 31 opportunities as the club’s closer through the season’s first four months, he was bumped into a setup role following the trade for veteran closer Jonathan Papelbon and proceeded to post a 6.75 ERA in 20 games since.

Upset over losing his ninth-inning role, Storen requested a trade after Papelbon was acquired July 28, but general manager Mike Rizzo wouldn’t grant it in-season, insisting the club needed the right-hander’s presence in its bullpen through the rest of 2015. The assumption all along, though, was that the Nationals would revisit the matter over the winter, with Storen likely to be traded.

Storen’s on-field struggles and now his self-inflicted injury, though, could destroy much of his trade value. The 28-year-old right-hander is under team control only one more season, so any club that acquires him would only be guaranteed his services through 2016.

  1. Drew - Sep 12, 2015 at 6:41 PM

    This knocks the Gus Frerotte head butt out of first place in D.C. annals.

    • ehay2k - Sep 12, 2015 at 9:28 PM

      No, cuz the Skins were still in it, and Frerotte hurt himself celebrating a touchdown, not in anger.

  2. fpa4356 - Sep 12, 2015 at 6:50 PM

    I feel so sorry for him. Many of us commenters are alot older and further down our respective career roads, and it is sometimes easier for us to forget the pressure we put on ourselves to succeed when we are young. There was alot of pressure on him on Tuesday night, and exponentially more on Wednesday night. Shamefully, there were boos when he trotted over from the bullpen. The boos may have been directed against MW, but Drew could not know that and it did not make his job any easier. If we fans are there to see the team succeed, then we should not make it more difficult for the players to give us what we want. Even big-time relievers, especially young ones, are human, not machines.

    • gzheng2015 - Sep 12, 2015 at 7:17 PM

      He has not been up to the challenge, simple as that. To be a big-time reliever means you rise to the pressure and make plays. He could not do that, not once, but quite a few times.

      • janebeard - Sep 12, 2015 at 8:59 PM

        I did not mean to hit report comment, but reply. I don’t know how to take it back.
        What I wanted to say is that these guys are human. I am so sorry that Drew found himself in this position. We can’t know how any of us would have dealt with the pressure.

    • Section 222 - Sep 12, 2015 at 9:45 PM

      Don’t worry, Drew thought people were yelling “Druuuuu!”

  3. Whynat - Sep 12, 2015 at 6:58 PM

    I guess Drew wanted to join the Ryan Mattheus school of relief pitching.

  4. Nats Fan Zee - Sep 12, 2015 at 7:06 PM

    No bigger Drew Storen fan than I but that was childish. He has to go now. What a shame.

    Good luck Drew and I hope you can get those emotions under control with your next team.

  5. JayB - Sep 12, 2015 at 7:13 PM

    That dumb ass move is going to cost the team plenty in the trade……poor little baby Drew…..Multi Millions not enough….have to be the closer……me first me first…..cut his dumb ass because he is not bring much in trade….Yet another Rizzo Error…..the lost value in trade from this past winter is on Rizzo….we all knew he did not trust him so why keep him?

    • sunshinebobby - Sep 12, 2015 at 7:57 PM

      You’re absolutely correct, JayB. Trade value was minimal before…Now he’s in bag of balls territory.

      Good luck unloading this head case, Mr. Rizzo.

      • Karl Kolchak - Sep 12, 2015 at 9:48 PM

        Better hope he gets traded to the AL, because he’ll be looking for revenge and with the Nats awful lineup he’ll probably get it.

  6. NatsNut - Sep 12, 2015 at 7:19 PM

    More sadness and disappointment. What’s next? (don’t answer that)

  7. Joe Seamhead - Sep 12, 2015 at 7:30 PM

    I heard that the Lerners are billing Storen for the damage to the locker.

    • Karl Kolchak - Sep 12, 2015 at 9:48 PM


    • BatBoy - Sep 12, 2015 at 9:54 PM

      Charge Drew 3 Possible Flags! Let alone a World Series!! Really!! He slams his finger in his locker on Wednesday, and we don’t hear about it till now ! How F,in convient is that??? Thank Baseball Gods Drew helps OUR NATS MELT DOWN ONCE AGAIN!!! WILLIAMS GOTTA GO!

  8. Section 222 - Sep 12, 2015 at 7:31 PM

    Shades of Ryan Mattheus. Remember the “dumb as a post” criticisms of him when he did the same thing? One thing we know about Drew is that he’s not dumb. This is very sad. His road back to closing is going to be tough. And it won’t be here.

    • Section 222 - Sep 12, 2015 at 7:33 PM

      And one other thing — it’s pretty hard to blame someone else for a self-inflicted injury, but MW was an idiot for bringing Drew into the game on Wednesday. There were many other choices, and every single one of them made more sense than Drew.

      • natslive - Sep 12, 2015 at 7:59 PM

        Agree about MW bringing him in on Wed. Not only had he blown 2 games he had thrown a number of pitches

      • Section 222 - Sep 12, 2015 at 8:01 PM

        And given up the biggest hit in the game the night before to the same batter he was going to face.

      • nats106 - Sep 12, 2015 at 8:04 PM

        There’s seems more to that story than most know. To put a demoralized player in rather than waiting until a lower leveraged situation (like Miami) reflects not only poor judgement by a manager, but some other things that seem even worse. You telling me he had no other options than a reliever who had already thrown 20+ pitches the night before?

        I wouldn’t hire this guy to manage a dog kennel.

      • DaveB - Sep 13, 2015 at 8:38 AM

        Indeed none of us know what all was discussed … certainly another possibility is that Drew lobbied hard to get into Wednesday’s game because he wanted to redeem himself, and then was especially frustrated as he blew that chance as well.

      • Section 222 - Sep 13, 2015 at 10:34 AM

        That’s very creative Dave, but since when do pitchers sitting out in the bullpen lobby hard to get in, and since when do managers who should know better cave to that lobbying? If that’s really what happened, then MW really should be fired.

  9. ehay2k - Sep 12, 2015 at 9:38 PM

    Very sad for Drew. Was at both games for his debacles and one thing my friend noticed on Wednesday was that Ramos looked over at the dugout during Drew’s warmup throws, which were not good. He had poor control, and his warmups throws were nowhere near Ramos’ glove, and a few were high. He really didn’t want to be there.

    The good news for Drew is that if baseball doesn’t work out, he has a Stanford education to fall back on, and some good cash in the bank. Maybe he can design safer locker room equipment!

    • Section 222 - Sep 12, 2015 at 9:46 PM

      Punchable or slammable lockers. Those would seem to be particularly needed for volatile relievers.

      • natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2015 at 7:38 AM

        Perhaps a locker-sized airbag, or a sensor that sprays water if a clenched fist approaches at high speed.

      • Section 222 - Sep 13, 2015 at 10:36 AM

        Or more low tech — just a sign on every locker that says “Do not punch, and use caution when slamming” with pictures of Matheus and Storen wearing dunce caps.

  10. BatBoy - Sep 12, 2015 at 9:57 PM

    Janebeard, stop wishing? Stoppppp!

  11. unterp - Sep 12, 2015 at 10:05 PM

    Poor Dru, can’t close anything right….

    • unterp - Sep 12, 2015 at 10:06 PM


    • natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2015 at 7:39 AM


  12. NatsLady - Sep 12, 2015 at 10:14 PM

    I agree that bringing Storen in on Wednesday to “get back on the horse” is pop psychology at its worst. I was at the Park, and it felt so predictable that he was going to fail. That said, my pity for him is non-existent, and I’d bet a lot of the players feel the same, even if they’d never say it.

    • natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2015 at 7:41 AM

      I didn’t see the game but, regardless of whether or not he should have been used in that situation, his injury is on him alone. I like Drew but…dang…

  13. fstop1970 - Sep 12, 2015 at 10:58 PM

    They didn’t have to utter one single word. The look on Stras’ face right after Drew gave up that two run blast said it all.

  14. phillygirl1807 - Sep 12, 2015 at 11:40 PM

    Totally agree with nats106. Not sure what MW was thinking on Wednesday night, but putting Drew Storen back in front of that hostile crowd with the game on the line was psychologically impairing. Why couldn’t he wait for an out-of-town game? It was like throwing Storen to the lions. I was at that game, and the boos were loud and clear. And look at the results, both during the game and afterwards.

    I never thought Storen had enough ice in his veins to be a consistent closer. I agree with other comments about Storen’s need to be a grown-up and a professional, no matter what circumstances he might find himself in. But what MW did to him on Wednesday night borders on cruelty.

    So now we have a situation where the Nats are completely flat, the fire is totally out, and there are still more games to play. These guys can’t wait to pack their bags and get out of Dodge. And many fans can’t wait for the bulk of them to leave and never return – especially the manager.

    Looking forward to a younger, peppier, and mentally stronger Nats team in 2016.

    • natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2015 at 7:46 AM

      Regardless of whether or not it was the right move, I personally don’t see it as cruelty. It is (or was) his job to take the mound when called upon. I agree on the growing-up front.

    • Section 222 - Sep 13, 2015 at 10:43 AM

      Well put Phillygirl. This was not a situation for helping a player get back on the horse. Yes, the season was already lost after Monday and Tuesday, but this was still a winnable game and Stras had pitched a gem. It was almost as if MW wanted to put a nail in Drew’s coffin, and his own. Managerial malpractice of the highest order..

  15. faridrushdi - Sep 13, 2015 at 12:16 AM

    I don’t exactly get the “broke his finger shutting his locker’s door.”

    I’ve been in the locker room when I covered a couple of games two years ago. The lockers are open with clothes and uniforms hanging in them. I think there was a cubby around eye level where they put their personal stuff, but I don’t remember any heavy door there (and if there were it would be no bigger than 2′ x 2′.

    Has anyone seen photos of those lockers? I just don’t remember.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 13, 2015 at 12:56 AM

      I was wondering that myself.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 13, 2015 at 12:57 AM

        I wonder if “punching a locker” is a euphemism for something else?

      • natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2015 at 7:43 AM

        Okay, I’m resisting the urge to crack wise here but, yes, also wondering about that.


        I wonder if “punching a locker” is a euphemism for something else?

    • ArVAFan - Sep 13, 2015 at 8:41 AM

      from WaPo Chelsea Janes:

      ” Storen shut the lockbox on his locker . . .”. So it must have been that little locker you’re referring to. But it sounds as if he must have actually closed it on his thumb, and hard. Which is more like “closing the car door on your thumb” than “punching a locker.” Not saying it was smart either way.

    • rabbit433 - Sep 13, 2015 at 12:41 PM

      Maybe he meant the small little safe?

  16. rabbit433 - Sep 13, 2015 at 7:42 AM

    That is a RIOT!!!! Well, at least he found another way to help the team!!!!!!

    • Section 222 - Sep 13, 2015 at 10:39 AM


  17. mrnat7 - Sep 13, 2015 at 8:07 AM

    Just think! We drafted Storen over Mike Trout!

  18. Reverendp - Sep 13, 2015 at 8:39 AM

    Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  19. robertrobert104 - Sep 13, 2015 at 8:48 AM

    Wow,that team is a disgrace…sinking faster than the Titanic…and the captain (manager) of that team is useless…

  20. Candide - Sep 13, 2015 at 8:56 AM

    The way things are going for this club, I won’t be at all surprised to read a story next week that says the team’s bus crashed on the way to the park and a dozen players had broken arms and legs.

    The baseball gods are still p!ssed off about “Where’s my ring?”

  21. ogremj - Sep 13, 2015 at 12:53 PM

    Is this the first time that it’s been reported that he actually did request a trade? I’m not sure, I don’t remember reading anything that definitively said that. Most stuff I remember came through his agent saying he was “exploring options”.

  22. micksback1 - Sep 13, 2015 at 6:03 PM

    at the end of the day, Drew will be set financially for ever so do not feel too bad for him.

    In his only defense, Rizzo and MW f’d up with his head. yes, Drew should have overcome his anger with being demoted in his mind to the 8th inning guy.

    BUT, Rizzo already knew Drew was a head case and this is where the management and manager failed to know their player.

    What precedent does it set to give in to Pap by giving him the closer role? This is where I believe the team realized that Rizzo and MW are scumbags!

    Also, i post on July 30th that nats should get Cepsides. they did not, why…I have no idea

    Nats will not be back to post season until after 2020

  23. richardp6 - Sep 13, 2015 at 7:23 PM

    just too easy ” he can’t even CLOSE a locker”





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