ATLANTA -- Nationals reliever Drew Storen threw a live batting-practice session on Friday at Turner Field, and is aiming to return to action once the team resumes play after the All-Star break.
Storen, who logged 43 saves last season, threw 40 pitches to hitters and said afterward that it felt great.
"My elbow feels better now than it ever did last year," he said. "Even last year, after I was done, it'd kind of be a little swollen, and I just thought that was normal. Now, it feels really good."
Manager Davey Johnson said Storen will throw a two-inning simulated game, likely on Monday, before embarking on a rehab assignment. Neither Johnson nor Storen could say for sure, but both said it was likely that he could return when the team picks up again July 13 in Miami.
"I'd say that's probably a pretty good time," Johnson said. "It all depends."
Storen, who had surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow in April, has been on the disabled list the duration of the season. It remains uncertain what his role will be when he returns -- Tyler Clippard is 12-for-12 in save opportunities this season since taking over for Henry Rodriguez in late May -- but Storen says he's fine with the setup role, if need be.
"That's fine, [Johnson's] supporting the guy that's gotten this team to where it's at," Storen said this weekend. "Tyler's been that guy, he's been that guy for the three years he's been here. [Johnson is] supporting him, but at the same time, I know when I come back, I'm going to need to get my feet wet."