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On Drew Storen, Blake Treinen and the 2016 Washington Nationals' bullpen

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Drew Storen's injured thumb ended his season, but the absence of the closer-turned-set-up-man has given Washington Nationals' right-hander Blake Treinen an opportunity to show what he can do as a back end of the bullpen arm.

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Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

In an MLB Network Radio interview on Sunday, Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo offered a fairly blunt take on the injury that ended Drew Storen's season.

Storen suffered a non-displaced fracture in his right thumb slamming the metal locker in his clubhouse stall closed after a particularly frustrating outing in a loss to the New York Mets two weeks back.

He admitted in an interview with reporters last week that he simply allowed his emotions to get the best of him.

"It’s one of those things where I was in the moment as a competitor," Storen said, as quoted by NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman.

"I was frustrated with my outing, but I had no intention… I’m not the type of guy to punch a wall or do something like that. That’s not what I was aiming for."

Intentions, aside, the injury, as Rizzo said previously, put the Nationals in a difficult spot.

"You put your team behind the eight ball when you do things that cause you to go on the disabled list and that's what he did." -Mike Rizzo on Drew Storen's thumb injury on MLB Network Radio

"It's unfortunate and we're not too happy about it, but Drew is a competitor and unfortunately he chose a route to let his frustration out that affects the ballclub."

Rizzo elaborated on those thoughts on Sunday morning, when MLB Network Radio hosts Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden asked about his reaction to the injury.

"Well, I was not happy about it, obviously," Rizzo said. "It's something that -- players, they can react and nobody is emotional as I am, so I understand that aspect of it, but you put your team behind the eight ball when you do things that cause you to go on the disabled list and that's what he did.

"It was something that upset me, it upset the coaching staff and upset his teammate and can't happen. But he's an emotional guy. He let the emotions get the best of him that time, but that's behind us now, we forgive and forget and we need to take it from this point forward and see where we go after that."

The injury brought an end to a tumultuous run for Storen, who saved 29 games in 31 opportunities before the Nats acquired veteran reliever Jonathan Papelbon before the non-waiver trade deadline.

As the closer, Storen posted a 1.73 ERA, nine walks (2.23 BB/9) and 44 Ks (10.90 K/9) in 36 ⅓ IP over which he held opposing hitters to a .212/.271/.250 line.

He also put together a brief run as an effective set-up man, throwing five scoreless innings in the eighth after the Papelbon deal that left him with a 1.52 ERA on the year (7 ER in 41 ⅓ innings pitched), but a rough patch started when Rockies' slugger Carlos Gonzalez hit a go-ahead grand slam off him in the eighth inning of an August 7th game in the nation's capital.

"It was something that upset me, it upset the coaching staff and upset his teammates. And can't happen. But he's an emotional guy. He let the emotions get the best of him..." -Mike Rizzo on Drew Storen on MLB Network Radio

Over the next month-plus, Storen gave up 17 hits, six walks and 16 runs, 14 earned in 15 games and 13 ⅔ IP, leaving him with a 3.44 on the year and a .220/.291/.312 line against after 55 innings pitched.

The difficult situation Storen's injury put the Nationals in also opened up an opportunity for someone else to step up and take over in the set-up role.

Three of Blake Treinen's last five appearances, since Storen's injury, have come in the eighth inning of close games, with the 27-year-old, sinker-balling righty, after his own rough outing in one of the Nationals' three losses to the Mets, throwing 4 ⅓ scoreless and hitless on 38 pitches over that stretch.

In 21 games, and 19 IP in the eighth inning this year, Treinen has put up a 2.84 ERA and a .227/.320/.288 line against, inducing five double play grounders from the 75 batters he's faced.

Since returning from a "sort things out" stint in Triple-A in late July, which saw him throw 12 scoreless inning for the Syracuse Chiefs, Treinen put up a 2.25 ERA, with five walks (2.25 BB/9) and 16 Ks (7.20 K/9) in 20 IP, over which he's held opposing hitters to a combined .203/.271/.219 line against, with three of the five runs allowed over that stretch coming in ⅔-of an inning of work against the Mets.

Last time out, Treinen inherited a two-on, no-out jam in the eighth inning of a 5-2 game with the Marlins, and got a double play grounder and a swinging K with six pitches to end the threat.

"He's put in a really important position today," Williams said after the outing.

"He comes in in a situation in the eighth when he's got two guys on and nobody out and he's able to induce the double play and then get [Derek] Dietrich as well, so he's getting more and more accustomed to that role.

"He can be a back end of the bullpen guy for us."

Papelbon's under contract for next year. Rumors of a trade that ends Storen's time in the nation's capital have been circulating since the Nationals' trade with the Phillies. There's an opportunity for Treinen, whose arsenal seems a perfect fit for the role, to lock down a late-inning bullpen role next season.

It's there for the taking... though he needs to figure out left-handers (.330/.412/.460 line against vs .192/.274/.225 vs RHBs).

One locker door slams shut and another door opens or something...