Washington Nationals may send Drew Storen to the minors

Patrick McDermott

The former closer has struggled in his role as a set-up man this year.

The Washington Nationals have not ruled out sending Drew Storen to the minors so the reliever can work out his issues, Nationals manager Davey Johnson told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.

Storen has struggled this season -- he owns a 5.40 ERA over 46 relief appearances. The right-hander allowed three runs in 2/3rds of an inning during his last outing, and has an 11.00 ERA in July.

The reliever has been successful in the past, saving 43 games for Washington in 2011. The Nationals still view Storen as one of the most talented relievers in the game, and believe that switching Storen from a closer to a set-up man has had a negative effect on his performance.

Nationals manager Davy Johnson discussed how changing roles has mentally affected Storen, telling Kilgore:

"That mentally, you know, affected him and his way of preparing was totally different. It's one thing to know. To me, it's always mental. ... With the different configuration of the bullpen, which was totally different from last year to this year, and he wasn't in a closing situation like he was in '11. So all that, it was causing some engine blowups. Mentally, I don't think he was prepared to come in that game."

Washington enters Friday with a disappointing 49-53 record, eight games back of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. The team may think about trading one of their high-priced relievers before the deadline, according to Kilgore.

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