When Drew Storen returns, it won't be as Nationals' closer

Drew StorenDrew Storen could return to the Nationals soon, but when he does, he won't be the closer, manager Davey Johnson said on Saturday.

Storen, 24, recorded 43 saves last season, but this season Tyler Clippard has converted all 12 of his save opportunities.

Johnson said at this point, he "can't see going to someone else," he told reporters (via the Washington Times.)

"They'd have to show me up here, probably in a set-up role, before they have the opportunity to close," he said.

That's fine by Storen.

"He's supporting the guys that have gotten this team where it's at. Tyler's been the guy," Storen said (from the Times). "I know how baseball is, it's what have you done for me lately. And the fact of the matter is I haven't done anything this year. That's part of the motivation to get back because I want to contribute to this team.

"I feel like I helped this team out a lot last year and I really feel like I've been a part of helping to turn this thing around. So for me to get back and be a strong contributor down the bullpen, that's what I want to do. All that other stuff, all this stuff, doesn't matter."

Storen left Baltimore on Sunday to go to the team's spring-training home in Viera, Fla., to throw live batting practice. He's expected to meet the team in Atlanta, where the Nationals start a three-game series on Friday. There he'll likely throw his first simulated game and follow that up with a rehab assignment.

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