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Ross Detwiler to start Sunday [Updated]

Ross Detwiler will make his 2010 major league debut Sunday for the Nationals, replacing Luis Atilano in the starting rotation and returning to the Nationals just three days after throwing seven innings at Class AA Harrisburg. Detwiler has made seven starts for Harrisburg following rehab from the hip surgery that derailed him right before the start of spring training.

At first, the Nationals will limit Detwiler because of his short rest -- "If we got five innings of out him, we'll probably be really happy with it," Manager Jim Riggleman said. "I'm not sure how far we'll let him go." The Nationals plan to keep Detwiler, the No. 6 overall pick of the 2007 draft, in their rotation so long as he remains healthy and effective.

Detwiler arrived in Milwaukee this afternoon, just as the Nationals were preparing to stretch before their series opener against the Brewers. "Gotta go," Detwiler said, rolling a black suitcase through the bowels of Miller Park. "I'm late."

In the spring, the Nationals assumed Detwiler, 23, might be a regular part of their rotation by now. Last season, Detwiler allowed five earned runs in his final 23 2/3 innings, redeeming a mostly rocky 2009 and providing promise for 2010. "He was a guy that the organization was counting on," Riggleman said.

Days before spring training, though, Detwiler revealed a hip ailment. Doctors checked it out. They ordered an MRI. It showed a small tear. He flew to Vail, Colo. and had surgery the same day.

Detwiler hobbled around Viera, Fla. in crutches for a month and eventually made his first rehab start for Harrisburg on June 9. He made seven starts for Harrisburg, compiling a 2.48 ERA with 31 strikeouts and seven walks. Convinced he had built his arm strength, the Nationals chose him over candidates John Lannan and Matt Chico.

"He's the guy who throwing as good as anybody down there," Riggleman said. "We feel like we'll be able to handle it fine."

Sunday, Detwiler will become the first of many expected reinforcements for the Nationals' pitching staff. Jordan Zimmermann is expected to make his 2010 debut in the first two weeks of August, and Scott Olsen, who pitched five innings for Class A Potomac last night, and Jason Marquis, who starts tonight for Harrisburg in Portland, Maine, will likely come next.

Olsen thinks he will be ready for the majors after one more rehab start, but the Nationals may give him, his agent, Matt Sosnick, said. "He said he feels great," Sosnick said.

The Nationals will finally receive a look at one of their young, recovering pitchers this weekend. As the Nationals took batting practice Friday, Detwiler chatted with Riggleman and General Manager Mike Rizzo. On Sunday, he'll pitch on a big league mound months after he thought he would.

"Last year when he was with us in September, I think we saw a little more confident guy," Riggleman said. "A guy who felt like he belonged there. He threw a lot of good ball games for us.

"He's like everybody else. You're out there trying to earn your stripes and keep your job. That's what he'll be doing, and that's what we'll be evaluating on."

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 23, 2010; 5:57 PM ET
 
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Comments

Glad to hear this... that we are trying to move towards a (hopefully) more permanent solution for the rotation rather then the stop gap measure Matt Chico would be...

I'm a fan of Chico, I remember well what he meant to the team in 2007... and I hope to see him in a Nats uniform again, too... but, it is definitely time to get some "stuff" pitchers into our rotation... Detwiler at least has "stuff"... jury out on how effectively he can use it, but glad it is him getting the call...

Posted by: Ghost7 | July 23, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

@Ghost7:
I like this decision as well, even though it may result in an 'all hands' bullpen call on Sunday. Let's see what the kid has outside of 'Sloppy September" lineups, and start making a clear determination on where he really falls in the order of things.

Posted by: BinM | July 23, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Bin, I'm not terribly optimistic about an "all hands" bullpen call for Sunday after tonight's bullpen collapse. If Riggleman wants to actually hold leads and win games, he needs to give Peralta more of a chance in those situations rather than Clippard, at least for the short term. I understand Rigs' loyalty to some players, but he's got to realize that if they don't perform, others should get a chance if the team wants to win games.

Posted by: LeeM9308 | July 23, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

How could they run into this 3 days rest situation for a guy recovering from surgery?

Posted by: markfromark | July 24, 2010 12:44 AM | Report abuse

Only if Peralta had been 1st relief Friday maybe things would have been different. Do all teams throw in the same guy at the same point of a game? Is it always, you're my set up guy, your my 1st relief guy, you're my save guy. Can't these roles be interchangeable so at least the opposing teams are getting different looks rather than knowing what they're getting?

Posted by: richs91 | July 24, 2010 6:59 AM | Report abuse

Ghost7 wrote:

"I'm a fan of Chico, I remember well what he meant to the team in 2007."

What, a guaranteed loss every fifth day? That's what I "remember well" about Matt Chico in 2007.

But hey, we wound up trading Livo for Chico and Mock and now we've got Livo, resulting in us getting Chico and Mock for free.

I guess you get what you pay for.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | July 24, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

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