BALTIMORE -- Drew Storen's recovery from April surgery continues to go as planned, with a return around the All-Star break still the target.
Storen threw to live hitters for the first time Friday afternoon, unleashing about 15 pitches to teammates Rick Ankiel and Jhonatan Solano that he said were all fastballs. Pleased with the sink on those pitches, the next step for Storen will be pitching in simulated games. The dates of those will be determined after seeing how his upcoming throwing sessions transpire.
"Once I really start throwing to guys without second-guessing, that'll probably be the true test," Storen said.
Manager Davey Johnson was also impressed with Storen's progress, which has stayed consistent since the surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow.
"I thought he threw the ball well," Johnson said. "All the reports I got was, and I talked to him afterwards, he felt good. I'd say he probably cut it loose maybe 80 to 85 percent. That's pretty good the first time out seeing hitters. No adrenaline rush or nothing, and he didn't have any difficulty or discomfort or anything, and that's great."
In other reliever news, Johnson added that Henry Rodriguez should need only two or three more rehab appearances after his first two.
"The first one was outstanding, the second one he threw good," Johnson said. "He didn't throw any balls erratically -- missed the strike zone a little, but he threw the ball well, 96-100 [mph]. [He] walked a couple but still got 'em out."
DeRosa on his way to returning to Nationals
BALTIMORE -- Mark DeRosa continues to inch closer to a return that would give the Nationals even more veteran experience off the bench.
DeRosa played 13 games this season before a strained left oblique sent him to the disabled list on April 29. He also took some time away from the team to be with his father, Jack, who passed away following a prolonged battle with cancer. DeRosa rejoined the Nats on Tuesday, and manager Davey Johnson said the veteran utility man should need only two or three more rehab games with Class A Potomac.
"He played five innings yesterday, struck out and hit a ball pretty good to right field," Johnson said. "He just needs to get back in the flow of things.
- 142 wins
- 110 wins
"With his experience and his know-how, I don't see it taking him more than two or three more games."
DeRosa had a slow start to the season before the injury, recording just three hits and two RBIs in 37 at-bats. The Nationals suddenly have a crowded outfield depth chart, as Xavier Nady, Rick Ankiel and Roger Bernadina all see fairly regular time off the bench behind usual starters Steve Lombardozzi, Bryce Harper and Michael Morse.
Johnson returns to Baltimore in first trip as visitor
BALTIMORE -- After spending eight years with the Orioles as a player and two more as a manager, Nationals skipper Davey Johnson made his first appearance in Baltimore as a visitor on Friday.
Returning to the area where he grew up, Johnson reflected.
"It feels really good," Johnson said. "It's a beautiful ballpark. I always loved coming here. I love the fans in this area."
Johnson played second base for the Orioles as a member of their World Series championship teams in 1966 and 1970. Back then, the team played at Memorial Stadium on 33rd Street, a site Johnson visited a few weeks prior to Friday's game.
Twenty-four years after he took his final swing as an Oriole, Johnson returned to Baltimore as manager in 1996.
"I've always had good memories about winning and as a player, just the town more than the ballparks," Johnson said. "All of my memories in Baltimore and with baseball are great memories."
Although he was named American League Manager of the Year in 1997 for leading the last Orioles team to make the playoffs, Johnson was dismissed following the season and after a spat with owner Peter Angelos.
Johnson said he and Angelos don't stay in touch, last speaking in 2005, when Angelos sent flowers and offered condolences after Johnson's daughter, Andrea, died of septic shock at age 32.
"That was greatly appreciated," Johnson said, adding that he has no hard feelings toward Angelos. "Managers are hired to get fired. All of the times that I was here were fun times for me."
Since leaving the organization, the only time Johnson returned to Camden Yards was in June 2010, as part of a 40th anniversary celebration for the 1970 championship.
Johnson said he relished the experience to be able to catch up and chat with Earl Weaver, Jim Palmer, Boog Powell and other members of the 1970 team.
Although his favorite Orioles experience was leading the AL East wire to wire in 1997, Johnson vividly recalled the slider Armando Benitez hung to Tony Fernandez for the home run that eliminated Baltimore in the 11th inning of Game 6 of that year's ALCS.
Johnson got to relive some of his Baltimore days by chatting with Palmer, now an Orioles broadcaster, prior to Friday's game.
"It was just a good feeling," Johnson said. "We were just talking about the good old days."
Nationals sign third-round Draft pick Mooneyham
BALTIMORE -- The Nationals signed third-round Draft pick Brett Mooneyham from Stanford on Friday, the team announced.
Listed at 6-foot-6, 235 pounds, Mooneyham fits the mold of the big pitchers the Nats like to target in the Draft. In his junior year at Stanford, Mooneyham posted a 7-5 record and a 4.26 ERA, with 90 strikeouts and 37 walks in 82 1/3 innings. His father, Bill -- a first-round selection of the California Angels in 1980 -- appeared in 45 games for the Oakland Athletics in 1986.
Surgery on the flexor tendon in his left middle finger cost Mooneyham the 2011 season, but the Nats have remained enticed by his three-pitch repertoire, including a fastball, curve and changeup.
"You have to go back to high school with this kid," Nationals director of scouting Kris Kline said to reporters on a conference call not long after the selection. "We have a lot of history with Brett. Back in high school, he was a potential top-five pick."
Mike Fiammetta is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Associate reporter Greg Luca contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.