VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals closer Drew Storen is not sure if he will be on the Opening Day roster. He recently had an MRI on his right elbow, and the results revealed no structural damage.
As far as Sunday goes, Storen is not expected to do any throwing. Storen, who hasn't pitched in a game since March 7, is not sure when he will start his throwing program.
"I'm not going to rush to get back. We have capable guys [to close games]," Storen said. "I'm not going to cut any corners. ... We'll see. It's not how you start the season, it's how you end it."
If Storen is not ready for Opening Day, right-handers Henry Rodriguez and Brad Lidge will most likely be given a chance to close games. Ryan Mattheus also will most likely make the team if Storen isn't ready at start of regular season.
LaRoche will likely be ready by Opening Day
VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson was hoping to play his Opening Day lineup on Sunday afternoon against the Mets, but he was unable to use left fielder Michael Morse or first baseman Adam LaRoche because they are still battling injuries.
Johnson is optimistic that LaRoche [sore left foot] will be ready to play Opening Day. LaRoche is expected to run the bases on Monday in a Minor League game, and has already been getting Minor League at-bats without running the bases.
Johnson also told LaRoche that he will be in a platoon situation to start the season. Mark DeRosa is expected to start against left-handed pitching.
Morse, who has a strained right lat muscle, is hoping to start throwing during the middle of the week. He has been shut down from doing any baseball activities for more than a week. Johnson is not sure if Morse, who will also get Minor League at-bats before playing in a Major League exhibition game, will be on the Opening Day roster.
With Morse and LaRoche unable to play, it gives Johnson more time to figure out his bench, which struggled last year. DeRosa and catcher Jesus Flores are already on the team, while Steve Lombardozzi is on the cusp of being on the 25-man roster. If he makes the team, Lombardozzi is expected to be the team's all-purpose player -- playing the corner outfield positions and shortstop, second base and third.
That would leave two extra bench players, provided that LaRoche and Morse are on the Opening Day roster. Rick Ankiel, Roger Bernadina, Andres Blanco, Brett Carroll, Jason Michaels and Chad Tracy are expected to get long looks. The Nationals are not expected to make their final roster cuts until early next week.
Werth feeling much better this spring
VIERA, Fla. -- A year ago at this time, Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth was not having a good Spring Training, and it carried over into the regular season. He ended up having arguably the worst season of his career, hitting .232 with 20 home runs and 58 RBIs in his first year with Washington.
But this year appears to be a different story. After going 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs against the Mets on Sunday, Werth is hitting a respectable .281 with three home runs and six RBIs this spring. It helps that Werth feels at home in D.C. and in the Nationals clubhouse.
"I feel pretty good. A lot has changed within a year, I would say. I definitely feel better at the plate at this time this year compared to last year," Werth said. "I never really got going in Spring Training last year. It just carried over into the season. This year, coming into Spring Training, it was probably the best I've felt, and that has carried over. ... I'm healthy, and that's the biggest thing. I feel good about this year, I feel good about this team and the direction we are going. I worked hard this winter and I'm ready to go."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.