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."
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