FBb On MASN: Washington Nationals' Bolstered Bullpen To Be Tested Early

USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals' manager Davey Johnson told reporters on Thursday that he would probably rest closer Rafael Soriano tonight after using him in three straight games against the Chicago White Sox. That means it will likely be Drew Storen if the Nats need a closer in the first of three with Atlanta.

[ed. note - "Every Friday this season, hopefully, if they'll continue to have me, I'll be writing a post over at MASNSports.com, "as part of MASNsports.com's season-long initiative of welcoming guest," writers to their site. All opinions expressed are my own... A sample follows, you can read the rest HERE (or through the link below)"]:

The signing of Rafael Soriano came as a surprise to most, including the Washington Nationals' manager. Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore explored the possibility before the 2-year/$28M dollar deal with the veteran reliever was announced, but the baseball world at large was caught off guard by the defending NL East champions' decision to "strengthen a strength" and add another closer to an already strong bullpen that had helped them get within one strike of the NLCS. Davey Johnson was on safari in Africa this winter when he received the news that the Nationals added the free agent closer to the mix in the Nats' bullpen.

"It kind of caught me a little bit by surprise," Johnson later told reporters. "Any time you can add a quality player, I mean, it makes me smart." The move, Johnson said this Spring, would give the veteran skipper options in the ninth inning. "When you're fighting for a pennant, a lot of times you can run off a lot wins in a row," Johnson explained, "I've had closers... I always have had a backup closer. In here I actually have, in reality, I have three guys that have closed aside from [Soriano]. So I have plenty of backup in case the workload [gets] too tough for [Soriano]."

The Nats' General Manager assured reporters after Soriano was introduced to the nation's capital this January that the move was not based upon one inning in the fifth game of the NLDS with St. Louis. "By no means [was] the signing of Rafael Soriano based on one inning and one game at the end of the season," Rizzo said."

• Read the entire post over at MASNSports.com:

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