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Storen's back and that makes Johnson relieved

The SportsXchange

Even in a loss, manager Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson saw some good things.

Backup catcher Sandy Leon, called up before the game, notched his first major league hit.

Starting infielder Ian Desmond, who was out most of the week with a left oblique injury, pinch hit and played shortstop in the late going. He contributed a base hit and a run scored.

But the return of closer Drew Storen from right elbow sugery was at the top of the list.

Storen had missed 89 games after having a bone chip removed from his throwing arm.

He made his season debut with a workmanlike 1-2-3 ninth inning in the 9-5 loss to the Mets. Storen hit 92-93 mph with his fastball. Johnson liked what he saw, but knows it is just the first step.

"I thought he was little rusty," said Johnson. "But he threw strikes and they certainly weren't centering on him. It has been three months. It was a good situation for him to come in to."

Storen said it was a great feeling to finally step out of the bullpen again and run to the mound to the roar of the remaining fans at Nationals Park.

"It was pretty emotional for me," Storen said. "It was capped off by a great ovation from the fans. It really means a lot. It makes those three or four months seem a little bit shorter. I was under control out there and felt like I had good command. That was all I was looking for."

Storen was able to set down David Wright, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Jason Bay in the ninth inning.

"To face a guy like David Wright out of the gate, I wouldn't have it any other way."

And the outing wasn't just a repeat of what he did last season. In the few months off, Storen tinkered and adjusted his sinker and now he can feel it getting much better movement.

"That is actually something I have been working on," Storen said. "It is something that I feel has improved a lot. Last year, I had good movement on my two-seam when I did throw it, but it faded. Now I feel like I get a little more depth to it."