The Washington Nationals promoted right-handed relief pitcher Drew Storen to Triple-A Syracuse.

The move is considered the last step before the 2009 first-round pick makes his plunge to the majors for the second half of the season.

In seven appearances this season at Double-A Harrisburg, the 22-year-old has recorded four saves while posting a 0.96 ERA. In 9.1 innings pitched, Storen has struck out 11 while only walking one.

His latest placement was just one in a line of several successful stops since signing with Washington last summer. In 35 appearances as a professional, he has posted a 1.75 ERA while averaging 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings.

While the Nationals drafted Storen in an attempt to gain instant help for a floundering bullpen last summer, Washington has upgraded its relieving corps this winter and has had early success this season.

Perhaps most notably, Matt Capps has dominated as the Nationals’ closer this season, saving 11 out of 11 chances while posting a 0.68 ERA. As a result, Storen will likely have to wait his turn to become the Nationals’ full-time closer.

While the 22-year-old may have envisioned being Washington’s full-time closer by 2010, he will likely have to serve as a setup man along with Tyler Clippard to the 26-year-old Capps until he is traded or his contract expires.

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