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Ross Detwiler off crutches, still on schedule

Yesterday morning, I noticed something new for this spring. Ross Detwiler was hobbling around in front of the Nationals dugout without any crutches. It was his second day without them, which he was pleased about.

"I'm able to move around," Detwiler said. "I don't have to worry about stairs anymore.

Detwiler, expected to contended for a starting rotation spot before unexpected hip surgery derailed him at the beginning of spring, remains on schedule to return by late May. He figures he will begin throwing in two or three weeks. He stretches and does resistance work in the training room, and he works out in a pool three or four times per week.

"We won't go ahead of schedule," Detwiler said. "If I need to move my schedule back a little bit, we'll do that. But I'm feeling great. We're just waiting for the protocol."

Detwiler's return, along with the Nationals debut of Chien-Ming Wang, also expected to come in May, could provide the Nationals pitching staff necessary reinforcements. The Nationals will play a team who finished above .500 last year 31 times in their first 40 games, a stretch that will test a pitching rotation still being sorted out.

Detwiler, the sixth overall pick in 2007, flashed promise last year. He had a 3.05 ERA over 76 2/3 innings with a 1.487 WHIP. He had a 5.00 ERA in 15 games with the Nationals, which was not helped by a .328 batting average on balls put in play against him.

For now, though, Detwiler will plod away at rehab and watch his teammates play. The milestone of ditching his crutches helped.

"I'm actually taking it a lot easier than I thought I would," Detwiler said. "Now that I am outside, I'm enjoying it. When I was on crutches, I wasn't able to get outside too much. It's a lot easier now that I'm coming outside and seeing baseball instead of just sitting inside in a training room."

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 15, 2010; 1:20 PM ET
 
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Next: Villone, Balester among latest cuts

Comments

"I'm taking it a lot easier that I thought I would" and "we can always just move it back, but we will not forward" talking about his recovery. These quotes are not anything fans want to hear at this point. Do these guys have any clue what fans have put up with the past 3 years. Does anyone teach these guys the history of the Nationals and injuries?

Posted by: JayBeee | March 15, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Well, I suppose, but what would you have him say? If he gives the "110%" speech, he'll be roasted for bs'ing.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | March 15, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm actually far more comfortable with taking it easy and moving back than pushing and moving forward only to be reinjured...

Posted by: Cavalier83 | March 15, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

From last thread:

If Crow is on this team, then Storen is not, right? I'm not saying Crow's not better than Storen, or vice versa. Just sayin'.
Posted by: JohninMpls | March 15, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Like you say, we don't know which will turn out better. We do know that Storen saved the Nats $1.9 million over Crow. A poster in the previous thread gave abundant evidence that Detwiler over Rick Porcello was a monetary decision, not a baseball one (since the Nats favored Porcello on baseball grounds). We know the Nats did not meet Cincy's price on Chapman--and as to not being given a chance to beat Cincy, what agent refuses a chance to pick up an extra million or two?The Nats had two below-slot signings in the last draft.

You can defend the Nats' decisions all you want on baseball grounds, but it seems clear that those decisions are guided by small budgets. I think your point is that the Nats can do just as well if they save money and pick the best players within their small budgets. If that's it, then some of us disagree with you.

And by the way, did you know that since the Lerners have taken over, the Nats have NEVER traded for a player who makes average MLB salary or higher. Soriano was pre-Lerners. Coincidence?

Posted by: EdDC | March 15, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Remember that this is the nationals medical staff, where a toe stub turns into a stint on the 60 day DL. Just because he's on schedule doesn't mean jack.

Posted by: swang30 | March 15, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Boswell makes the point in his column that closers who start young burn out younger. Assuming that means they wind up with fewer good years than someone who started after age 25 (and I don't know that that's so), I'm going to ask a rude question: So what?

There's no guarantee he'll be good in five years, whether he starts this year in DC or elsewhere. He's good now. (So is Valverde, but that was a different rant, months ago.)

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | March 15, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

This team and this spring training has made one thing abundantly clear ... in spite of the "not quite at the bottom of the list" team salaries level ...

The Lerners are definitely cheap.

Posted by: periculum | March 15, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Are the first stats minor league and the latter major league? If they are minor league, why so few innings? Was he still injured at the beginning of last year?
-----
Detwiler, the sixth overall pick in 2007, flashed promise last year. He had a 3.05 ERA over 76 2/3 innings with a 1.487 WHIP. He had a 5.00 ERA in 15 games with the Nationals, which was not helped by a .328 batting average on balls put in play against him.

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | March 15, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

@Peric
I disagree. Our bullpen sucks right now. You thought last year was bad? This year is arguably worse. We have 2/5s of a SP rotation, going up to 4/5s in June (assuming either CMW or Detwiler actually does come back.) We have basically no one in the bullpen.

Keep Storen where he's needed, I say.
------------------------------------------
Finally, if you send Storen down to save the Arbitration year START HIM IN SOME games!!!! He has FIVE pitches he commands. He would undoubtedly be more valuable as a STARTER RIGHT NOW than as a setup man for friggin' Matt Capps!!!!!

Posted by: swang30 | March 15, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

They should start Storen ... before using him as a setup man for Capps. He has five pitches he commands well. Let him use them.

Posted by: periculum | March 15, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Not a crazy idea, but you know it's _never_ gonna happen. Just like Strasburg closing was never, ever going to happen.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | March 15, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse


HELLLLOO Mike Rizzo? HELLLOO grandpa Riggleman? Knock knock anything in there?

_______________________________________________________________
OK, before we all go to the new post, Coach Edwards has the last word:

http://tinyurl.com/ybsze4m

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | March 15, 2010

Posted by: periculum | March 15, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

and while it's true that a good starter pitches more innings, you don't play to win the inning--(all together now:) you play to win the game. And a good closer will save more games than a good starter--hell, 2 good starters--will win.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | March 15, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

@Peric
I disagree. Our bullpen sucks right now. You thought last year was bad? This year is arguably worse. We have 2/5s of a SP rotation, going up to 4/5s in June (assuming either CMW or Detwiler actually does come back.) We have basically no one in the bullpen.

Keep Storen where he's needed, I say.

_______________________________________________________________

That was the plan that was in place ... they almost knew they were going to get Chapman ... that was all in the plan. But, hey, guess what the Reds jumped in.

The need a starter more ... they can get setup men either from the prospects or veterans. And they can use Capps and Bruney to close for now.

Maybe they need to see if Storen can replace JZimm because he may not ever be the same and there is no one yet to replace him ... but there is the draft and hey we're going to draft Harper ... ludicrous.

Posted by: periculum | March 15, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Ross Detwiler is 24 years old. The stats Adam gave above were his minor league stats last year--his combined minor league WHIP in 2009 was 1.487, in AA and AAA (with the Nats it was 1.586).

For a couple comparisons:

Brian Matusz, who is 23, pitched at A and AA last season. His combined minor league WHIP for 2009 was 1.053. It was actually lower at AA, .906.

Madison Bumgarner is 20. He pitched at A and AA last season. Combined WHIP was 1.020 (1.028 at AA).

I was happy to see Ross put together a few good starts last September, but we all know what they say about not trusting September baseball. So, is Ross Detwiler part of the pitching that StanK claims "is here"? If so, let's be realistic about what, exactly, is here.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | March 15, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

A good starter "plays" to ensure that YOU DON'T LOSE THE game by getting blown out. Its up to the offense to WIN THE GAME after that.

Posted by: periculum | March 15, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Very talented "setup" men obviously aren't KEY to winning THE GAME. Otherwise why are they paid significantly less? That is what is "in store for Storen" if he goes north. Unless grandpa Riggleman decides to let his rookie phenom close out the gates ... then you are wasting innings and talent.

Start him.

Posted by: periculum | March 15, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

You can't just throw him out there and expect him to start throwing 100 pitches after being a short reliever for years.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | March 15, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

The idea of Storen starting has been brought up before (especially around the draft). He started as a starter at Stanford and was then moved to the 'pen. Adam, could you ask why the Nats brass sees Storen as a reliever only? I agree that with 4 or 5 pitches and stuff to make Livo go "Wow!", why not get 200 innings a year out of him instead of 70 or 80.

It seems he has the mentality you need at the back of a bullpen and I believe he will be great back there, but if we can get more value out of him by starting him, I'd at least like to hear from the FO why that is a bad idea.

Posted by: sec307 | March 15, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Peric, Storen is staying in the bullpen. It doesn't matter if your notion of starting him is just interesting, or is actually a good idea. It isn't going to happen.

Depending upon Olsen, Wang, Detwiler, Chico, Zimmermann to come through for us this year is just silly.
No, sorry it's not just silly. It's cheap, and it's silly.

And I L-O-V-E Livo, but it is depressing to think that he's going to be in our rotation this year, perhaps as our 3rd most effective starter.

Posted by: Sunderland | March 15, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

So, is Ross Detwiler part of the pitching that StanK claims "is here"? If so, let's be realistic about what, exactly, is here.
Posted by: CoverageisLacking | March 15, 2010 2:11 PM
--------------------
CIL: Fair point - What's "here" is unproven (Strasburg, Thompson), or recovering from injury (Wang, JZimm, Detwiler, Chico, Olsen). What's "known" are a fistful of #2-5 SP's (Lannan, Marquis, Hernandez, Martin, Martis, Mock, Stammen).
It's a tick better than last year, when DCab opened the season as the #3 SP, but that's faint praise.

Posted by: BinM | March 15, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

"At this point ... does anyone believe they will actually win a game in spring training without starting pitching or the bullpen breaking down? Anyone??? Most of those less than average spring training standings teams recorded at least TEN WINS? At least from my quick perusal?"

They have 20 spring training games left. All they have to do is go .500 in those games, and they will have won 10. Just sayin'.

Posted by: TBCTBC | March 15, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Exactly.

---

I'm actually far more comfortable with taking it easy and moving back than pushing and moving forward only to be reinjured...

Posted by: Cavalier83 | March 15, 2010 1:51 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 15, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I agree, we should draft Storen as a closer and make him a starter.

We should draft Harper as a catcher and make him into a shortstop.

We should also make Dukes change into a early career Vlad Guerrero.

And, while we are at it, have McCatty become Dave Duncan and the Lerners become the Steinbrenners.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | March 15, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

You can't just throw him out there and expect him to start throwing 100 pitches after being a short reliever for years.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa

________________________________________________________________

True, but he is returning to the minors ... perhaps starting at Harrisburg the AA hospital ... seems like a place for trial and error.

Posted by: periculum | March 15, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

We should draft Harper as a catcher and make him into a shortstop.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | March 15, 2010

______________________________________________________

I've read that they've been playing him in center field. So,
I suppose its possible.

Posted by: periculum | March 15, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

@Sunderland,

I agree. But our team is the Tiny Tim's and our owner is Ebeneezer Scrooge.

As you point out they are trying to convince us that a band of walking wounded is going to be the answer to our crippling record. NOT.

You have to think that Riggleman looking at his set-up men for a "spot" starter wouldn't immediately notice Drew Storen. In my opinion it would be better to find out if he could handle it in the minors at the beginning of the spring instead of waiting until the need is so dire that they throw our "set up" man but Closer of the future into the lion's mouth.

Posted by: periculum | March 15, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

What's "here" is unproven (Strasburg, Thompson), or recovering from injury (Wang, JZimm, Detwiler, Chico, Olsen). What's "known" are a fistful of #2-5 SP's (Lannan, Marquis, Hernandez, Martin, Martis, Mock, Stammen).
It's a tick better than last year, when DCab opened the season as the #3 SP, but that's faint praise.

Posted by: BinM | March 15, 2010 2:42 PM

BinM, I like your breakdown, but I'd modify it a bit, as indicated below.

Unproven: Strasburg, Thompson (though I have not heard any strong positive buzz on him in any case yet)
Recovering: Wang, Olsen
Recovering AND Unproven: JZimm, Chico, Detwiler
#3-5 SPs (skewing towards 5): Lannan, Marquis, Hernandez, Martin, Martis, Mock, Stammen

As to the unproven guys, even there, there is a big difference between Strasburg and JZimm on the one hand and Detwiler/Chico on the other, who never have racked up the stats to suggest they are a good bet to be a significant element of the pitching that is supposedly "here."

As to my "skewing towards 5" assessment, Lannan is the only guy who I think is a legit 3. Marquis--people point to his streak of playing for playoff teams. But none of those teams have given him a playoff start since 2004. In '06 and '07, the Cards and Cubs left him off the postseason roster entirely (similar to how Bruney's "playoff team experience" is touted even though the Yanks left him off for the first 2 rounds last year and then he got shelled in his 1 WS appearance). Marquis is not that good, he should be true back end if the pitching is "here."

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | March 15, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

No need to rush anything and hurt your arm compensating. This team is going nowhere.

http://www.avasflowers.com/district-of-columbia/florist-washington-dc-dc/

Posted by: Washington-DC-Florist | March 15, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I wish Rizzo would do one thing that was exciting. (Chapman would have been good)He has not made one significant trade or free agent signing. You say, Morgan for Milledge--maybe. But. as far as I'm concerned, the jury is still out on that one. Granted, Morgan has a great attitude and is excellent defensively but he's also five years older and won't, I believe, be as good overall offensively as Milledge.
I know it's Fantasy Baseball, but it's interesting that our two top pitchers have approx. 86 and 94 other pitchers ranked ahead of them by 'Sporting News' ($2 value)

Posted by: jcampbell1 | March 15, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

The SYR Chiefs guy is trying to horde pitchers for his team ... LOL here is his rotation (he wants to give us Olsen, Batista and Hernandez) ...

Major League starting rotation: John Lannan and Jason Marquis are locks, while Scott Olsen should be penciled in as the third starter. Craig Stammen coming off late season surgery is good enough for the fourth spot with veterans Livian Hernandez and Miguel Batista are fighting for the 5th spot - that won't be needed until April 19th due to off days.

http://syracusechiefs.mlblogs.com/archives/2010/03/spring_training_bracketology_-.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+InsideTheChiefs+%28Inside+the+Chiefs+Blog%29&utm_content=FaceBook

Posted by: periculum | March 15, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

AAA-Syracuse Staff: A good deal of this staff depends on the health and decisions made with Olsen, Batista and Hernandez, but the Chiefs appear loaded no matter what happens.

J.D. Martin, Garrett Mock, Shairon Martis, veteran lefties Matt Chico, Chuck James, Andrew Kown, Collin Balester, Luis Atilano and Aaron Thompson give the team a wealth of depth to choose from. In addtion, where does Stephen Strasburg begin his baseball career?

Bullpen includes: Six lefthanded pitchers are competing for two maybe three spots and include Doug Slaten, Victor Garate, Jesse English - all picked up in the off season, while Nationals prospects Attie Severino, Yunior Novoa and Jack Spradlin return.

Posted by: periculum | March 15, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

It was good to hear a first-class manager discuss his team's progress in Spring training today, and I don't mean Jim Riggleman.

Jim Leyland spent some time on the MLB TV broadcast from FL on the Tigers, and what a difference from what the Nats' people have to offer. Leyland was intelligent in the extreme, precise, and knowledgeable about all of his players and his intentions. Between listening to Leyland and reading what Riggleman has said, there's no comparison. Riggleman and his coaching staff are strictly bush, and no amount of Boz and others considering what moves the Nats can/might make with their miserable set of choices hides this fact.

By the way,Leyland said he expects it will take the Tigers' new double-play combo well into mid-season before they'll be entirely comfortable. But they're working on it every day, giving both the SS and 2B extra reps every chance they get. Compare this with the fact that the Nats have never had a steady double-play combination, ever, and they're still uncertain about who, if anyone, will be their regular SS and 2B. In other words, the Nats will be weak up the middle all year.

Mediocrity,thy name is Washington Nationals.

Posted by: JohnRDC | March 15, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

At least the Syracuse bloggah is salivating ... sigh ...

Posted by: periculum | March 15, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

J.D. Martin, Garrett Mock, Shairon Martis, veteran lefties Matt Chico, Chuck James, Andrew Kown, Collin Balester, Luis Atilano and Aaron Thompson give the team a wealth of depth to choose from.
Posted by: periculum | March 15, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't sound real wealthy, at least when you compare Nats' staff with other MLB staffs. How many of those guys would get serious consideration for #3, #4, and #5 starters on most other teams?

Posted by: EdDC | March 15, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't sound real wealthy, at least when you compare Nats' staff with other MLB staffs. How many of those guys would get serious consideration for #3, #4, and #5 starters on most other teams?

Posted by: EdDC
_______________________________________________________________

From Syracuse perspective its far, far better than what they had last year ... its a huge difference really ... and last year they were able to compete pretty well. If Rizzo hasn't done well by the Nats he has done well by Syracuse apparently. ~wry smile~

Posted by: periculum | March 15, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, if we're talking about #4 or #5, I'd rather throw Livan out there until April 19th, and let Stammen come up then. But then again, I've never been all that impressed with Stammen in the first place.

Posted by: swang30 | March 15, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

From Mark Zuckerman:

VIERA, Fla. -- Ron Villone was among six pitchers cut for Nationals camp this afternoon.
Villone, 40, was given his outright release. Collin Balester and Atahualpa Severino were optioned to Class AAA Syracuse. Aaron Thompson and Ryan Mattheus were optioned to Class AA Harrisburg. Juan Jaime was optioned to Class A Potomac.

The moves leave 45 players in big-league camp.

Villone was hoping to earn a spot as a left-handed specialist, a role he held last season. But the veteran struggled this spring and like fellow non-roster invitee Eddie Guardado was given his release.

"He's going to pitch in the big leagues this year," manager Jim Riggleman said. "Someone will need a left-hander and someone will call on him."

With Guardado, Villone and Thompson now gone, the Nationals are almost certain to open the season with only one left-handed reliever: Sean Burnett.

Posted by: periculum | March 15, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Um, peric; Martin, Mock & Balester all started the year with SYR in 2009, while Martis went down to them in mid-season. Atilano & Kown were promoted to SYR toward the end of last year.
Point is, most of the guys named were with them in 2009.

Posted by: BinM | March 15, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

NFA has already updated the Big Board.

But Brian still has Rafael Martin in the Nats Spring Training camp? I thought he was over in the Accelerated minor league camp?

He is also showing Bradley Meyers promoted to Syracuse as a starting pitcher.

Posted by: periculum | March 15, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Ahhm BinM, I'm not sure but I don't think Syracuse's rotation started out that way last year? Still there is at least one change now. Bradley Meyers will be in the starting rotation in Syracuse.


"I guess the two most surprising moves were the release of Villone and demotion of Balester. With the Villone’s release, the Nats are likely to carry just one lefthander in the bullpen (Sean Burnett).

Balester’s demotion is interesting to me. With all of the struggles of the Nats’ pitchers this spring, I figured Balester still had a chance at the back end of the rotation. It doesn’t mean a whole lot right now (except to Balester) but I wonder where Balester falls in the starting pecking order."

Posted by: periculum | March 15, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

The above quote attributed to Brian over at NFA.

Posted by: periculum | March 15, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

We used to say that the Nats had many AAAA players. Let's see if the Chief's 5 starters and the Nats #3, 4 and 5 (going into April) are truly AAA quality this season.

Posted by: EdDC | March 15, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

"Polanco was helped off the field during Monday's game with an apparent knee injury, MLB.com's Todd Zolecki reports."

Rizzo had better be pushing Morse to the Phils on the phone right now.

Posted by: dfh21 | March 15, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Maybe he'll push Dukes ...

Posted by: periculum | March 15, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Dukes? The Phillies have pretty much no back-up at 3B. Morse could be valuable for them, he is not so sexy for the Nats given the rest of the roster and Zim's gonna play every day status Dukes has value here. Periculum, are you not feeling confident in our starting RF already?

Posted by: dfh21 | March 15, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

And by the way, did you know that since the Lerners have taken over, the Nats have NEVER traded for a player who makes average MLB salary or higher. Soriano was pre-Lerners. Coincidence?

Posted by: EdDC | March 15, 2010 1:55 PM

Wow you can always be a yankee fan! Where do you think the money is coming from? You cant have a team with a new ballpark and has crappy ticket sales/merchandise sales, and go out and get top free agents and make trades. What would we trade for players? Our young talent? So they can go somewhere and be successful and we get stuck with high priced #0 year olds? Nobody just gives away good baseball players. I will never argue with how this team is being run under kasten/rizzo because they are running it in a smart way. The yankees buy everyone. The Nats are making a statement that you build a team with young talent and you make your bed with that. Kasten did this to the braves and they spent over a decade at the top of this division and produced numerous future hall of famers from doing this exact thing. Be a fan and stop playing politics loser.

Posted by: willfacc10 | March 15, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

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