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Posted: Wednesday March 28, 2012 6:37PM ; Updated: Wednesday March 28, 2012 6:37PM

Nationals closer Storen to start the season on DL

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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) -- Washington Nationals closer Drew Storen will start the season on the disabled list because of trouble in his right elbow.

Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Wednesday that Storen wouldn't be ready for opening day on April 5.

Storen played catch Tuesday for the first time in a week and felt no pain in his inflamed elbow.

"I know his arm is in pretty good shape right now, but if it's a slow rehab, hopefully, being cautious, maybe [he's be ready] mid-April," Johnson said. "Maybe I'm being overly hopeful."

Storen, who had 43 saves last season, has pitched in two spring training games. After experiencing soreness in his biceps and triceps, he made a trip to Washington last week for an MRI, and the test showed no structural damage and just inflammation in the joint.

The right-hander threw from 90 feet Tuesday and was expected to stretch that to 120 feet Wednesday. He should throw off a mound later this week.

Michael Morse, who has been nursing a strained back muscle, also is taking steps forward in his recovery but will receive more testing. He was expected to throw for the first time Wednesday since March 13, but is scheduled to undergo a sonogram to check on the healing.

Johnson said the test had nothing to do with any setbacks.

"It's just to monitor for discomfort, to check to see how much it's healed," Johnson said.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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