WASHINGTON -- As a senior starting pitcher at Stanford in 2008, Erik Davis never felt a lack of confidence about leaving leads in the hands of his team's closer. When it was time for a save opportunity, the coaches simply would say, "Bring in the kid," and everyone knew what that meant.
"The kid" was a freshman by the name of Drew Storen. With Davis as the staff ace and Storen shutting the door, the Cardinal won 41 games, finished second in the Pac-10 and made a trip to Omaha, Neb., for the College World Series.
"He was just a confident guy, as far as his abilities on the field. We trusted him so much," said Davis, who became Storen's teammate again on Saturday, when the Nationals called him up from Triple-A Syracuse.
"I never had any doubts about him being in the game. It actually was a relief because I knew he was going to come in and shut the other team down."
The dynamic between the two right-handers is a bit different now. Davis was moved to the bullpen last year, and Storen is in a setup role.
Beyond that, it's Storen who is the veteran, with 188 Major League appearances to his credit across four Major League seasons. Davis, a year older than Storen at age 26, made his debut on Sunday, striking out two in 1 2/3 scoreless innings at Atlanta.
"It's funny, because it's almost a role reversal now," Storen said. "He was a senior when I was a freshman, so he was one of the leaders on our pitching staff. I've always been a big fan of the way he pitches, and like the other day during his debut, it didn't surprise me to see his success in the way he attacked guys, because he kind of had a fearless attitude when he was out there."
Storen remembers a game from April 2008, when Davis gave up two runs in a complete-game victory over top-ranked Arizona State, whose lineup included future big leaguers Jason Kipnis, Ike Davis and Brett Wallace.
"He wasn't a real vocal guy -- just went about his business and the way he went out and attacked guys -- and his intensity on the mound, you looked up to it," Storen said. "That no-fear attitude, as a freshman, it was cool to see."
After that 2008 season, when Davis and Storen both were all-Pac 10 selections, their paths diverged. The Padres selected Davis in the 13th round of that summer's First-Year Player Draft. Storen pitched one more season for Stanford, then was a Nationals' first-round pick as a Draft-eligible sophomore in '09.
When Washington acquired Davis in March 2011, Storen was excited. Spring Training has given them a chance to catch up and play some golf together. Now they're back sharing a clubhouse, and once again, having Storen around brings Davis a sense of comfort.
"I think it'd be tough if I treated him poorly in college, but I think I was always nice to him," Davis said. "I'm a pretty shy and quiet guy to begin with, but he's been nothing but welcoming to me. … I'm lucky, on my first callup, to know a guy on the team well. That's kind of nice."
For Zimmerman, shoulder rehab simply routine
WASHINGTON -- Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman will be the first to say that his right shoulder is not 100 percent. In fact, he expects the shoulder to be in rehab mode for the rest of the season, but it will not keep him out of the lineup.
Entering Wednesday's action against the Mets, Zimmerman leads the Nationals in errors with 10, most of them coming on throwing miscues. Whenever he gets frustrated on the field, medical director Wiemi Douoguih and the team trainers often remind Zimmerman that he is in a rehab mode in 2013.
"I will technically rehab for the rest of my career. I have to stay on top of it. That's how it's going to be," Zimmerman said. "I'm not old , but I'm not getting younger, either. So, it's one of those things where it's going to be a part of my routine, which is fine.
"The shoulder is getting better and getting more and more comfortable. I still have days where it doesn't feel great. It's part of it. Everyone doesn't feel great on certain days. But I'm getting more comfortable, and I'm able to repeat it a little bit more. It's only going to get better. It's frustrating at times. Nobody wants to make errors. Nobody wants to mess up. Unfortunately, I have some this year. But all I can do every day is work harder at it and get better."
Zimmerman had had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder last October. While there wasn't any labrum or rotor cuff damage, Zimmerman needed to have his AC joint fixed and the surgery revealed the injury to be more serious than anticipated.
"You can never really tell until you get in there," Zimmerman said. "But the AC joint and the stuff around it was pretty bad. For a pitcher, it would have been a lot longer timetable than a position player. [If I were a pitcher], I would be doing rehab starts. That's a pitcher. That's a totally different story. I'm not using that as an excuse or anything like that. It's technically a rehab year."
Next step for Detwiler is Minor League start
WASHINGTON -- Nationals starter Ross Detwiler "threw the heck out of the ball" in his bullpen session on Wednesday, manager Davey Johnson said. The left-hander likely will make one rehab start in the Minors before rejoining the Major League club as he continues to rehab a strained oblique.
"He hasn't faced hitters in almost three weeks, so he's going to go to [Class A] Potomac or [Double-A] Harrisburg or whatever's close by and probably throw somewhere between 40 and 50 pitches," Johnson said.
Detwiler injured the oblique while running the bases against the Dodgers on May 15. After throwing a bullpen session on Saturday, the oblique tightened up on him and forced him to miss another start.
Johnson said the team will wait until Thursday to make sure that the same thing doesn't happen after Wednesday's bullpen session.
"The last time he threw a bullpen, the next day he was stiff," Johnson said. "So tomorrow we'll have to check him and make sure he's not having any discomfort on his side. It could be as early as three days [before he makes a rehab start], it could be longer."
• Nationals left-hander Ian Krol made his Major League debut in the sixth inning on Wednesday. He gave up a leadoff double before striking out Daniel Murphy, David Wright and Lucas Duda in order.
• Recent callup Anthony Rendon batted sixth in Wednesday's lineup and made his first Major League start at second base. He went 1-for-4 with a double and a strikeout and looked comfortable in the field at second base. Rendon mostly played third at Double-A Harrisburg before being promoted over the weekend to Triple-A Syracuse, where he got more significant work at second.
• Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa saw a hand specialist in Baltimore on Wednesday after being placed on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured right wrist. He had MRIs on both the wrist and his left rotator cuff, which was torn late last season.
"We're not going to share anything with you until we have a full assessment of his health -- wrist, shoulder," general manager Mike Rizzo said.
• Nationals first-base coach Tony Tarasco returned to the team Tuesday following the birth of his son, Jack, on May 27. After complications with the birth, a team spokesman said that both mother and son are healthy.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashinNats. Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @HitTheCutoff. Tom Schad is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.