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Who could replace Luis Atilano?

So the Nationals will "re-evaluate" Luis Atilano's place in their starting rotation, Manager Jim Riggleman said late last night. For the first portion of his rookie season, Atilano provided the Nationals a reasonable fascimile of Jason Marquis, the starter he replaced. Here's a look at Marquis's career and Atilano's first nine starts:

Marquis: 4.57 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 1.49 K/BB, 5.2 K/9, .269 average against

Atilano: 4.24 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 1.0 K/BB, 3.9 K/9, .264 average against

For a while, he really was an adequate stand-in that helped stabilize the Nats rotation. Those days, as last night hammered home, are over. In his last seven starts -- not including his 2 1/3-inning disaster at Class AAA Syracuse -- Atilano has a 6.49 ERA and the Nats are 1-6 in those games. Part of it could be poor luck -- his 1.8 K/BB ratio is actually twice as good as his start to the season. Still, Atilano may have reached the end, at least for now, of his time as a Nats starter.

Atilano is down to start Sunday in Milwaukee. If the Nationals' re-evaluation determines Atilano heads back Syracuse, then who might take his spot? A few candidates, chosen with just speculation and presented in no particular order:

Matt Chico: Chico has already made one start this season for the Nationals, helping them beat the Florida Marlins and Josh Johnson back on May 8. He's had one of the best seasons of any starting pitcher in Syracuse, slapping up 3.55 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. In his last two starts, both against Pawtucket, Chico has allowed no earned runs, six hits and two walks in 14 innings.

Erik Arnesen: His start last night means he's on schedule, and it also means he's on something of a roll. He allowed one single in the first inning and then did not allow a base runner for the remainder of his six-inning start. Arnesen, 26, began the season in Class AA Harrisburg's bullpen. In all of his innings, he has a 3.65 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. Arnesen, 26, is a strike-thrower -- he has only 24 walks in 91 1/3 minor league innings this season.

Ross Detwiler: He's made six starts and pitched 25 2/3 innings. He's got to be ready to come back at some point, right? One issue is that he is scheduled to pitch tonight today, and he might not be at a point in his rehab where altering his schedule makes any sense.

UPDATE, 3:32: Detwiler made his start this afternoon and was tremendous. He pitched seven shutout innings, allowing five hits and one walk while striking out seven.

John Lannan: The Nats' opening day starter has thrown 30 2/3 innings with Class AA Harrisburg and had modest results in five starts, going 1-2 with a 4.11 ERA. But it's not like Lannan's stuff is going to overwhelm any batters, even in Harrisburg. So the best way to measure any corrections he's made to his sinker would come back in the majors. Even if they haven't come, what's the harm in finding out?

Shairon Martis: Remember him? Martis has put together a respectable year in Syracuse, going 6-5 with a 3.82 ERA in 18 starts and 101 1/3 innings. He's still only 23.

Aaron Thompson: Probably not ready yet, but he pitched last night for Class AA Harrisburg, so he'd be on schedule, and has shown flashes of why the Marlins chose him in the first round in 2005. In three of his past 10 starts, he has not allowed any earned runs. But in three others, he's allowed at least five. (In one start, he no-hit Portland for six innings but allowed six walks.)

UPDATED, 1:17: A couple folks asked about Scott Olsen. He is coming along better in his rehab, and he has a start scheduled for Thursday with Class A Potomac. He has yet to throw more than four innings in a rehab start, so there just isn't enough time for him to be ready by Sunday.

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 21, 2010; 12:44 PM ET
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Next: Video: Yunesky Maya in the World Baseball Classic


Based on future priorities and importance to the organization, Detwiler is the guy. But he may not be ready yet, and if not, I'd go with Chico.

But what about Olsen?

Posted by: baltova1 | July 21, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Based on future priorities and importance to the organization, Detwiler is the guy. But he may not be ready yet, and if not, I'd go with Chico.

But what about Olsen?

Posted by: baltova1 | July 21, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I thought Olsen had another setback?

Posted by: PAskinsfan17 | July 21, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Tells you everything you need to know that this franchise has no one other than Martis at the Triple-AAA level capable of coming up and making a spot start.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | July 21, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Put me in coach... I can throw Lannan style BP.

Posted by: Kavorka | July 21, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

"Ross Detwiler: He's made six starts and pitched 25 2/3 innings. He's got to be ready to come back at some point, right?"

Adam, what do you mean by "come back"? Detwiler has never won a place in the Nats' rotation to which he could "come back" in the first place. And Rizzo has actually been quite clear on this point. Detwiler has been a huge disappointment--and mediocre at best--throughout his Nats career, in both the minors and in his cups of coffee with the Nats. The fact that he strung together a few good, short-innings, starts last September doesn't change that. And I expect you know what they say about trusting the results for September call-ups in any case.

More recently, in his 25 innings of rehab at AA, Detwiler's WHIP is over 1.5. And he's had back problems also--are they related to compensating for his hip injury and/or his funky delivery, Adam? Whatever the case, he's hardly earned a spot in the rotation that he hadn't previously won.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | July 21, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I say Martis, but for some reason he is in Rizzos dog house

Posted by: hansenjo | July 21, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-on a different topic, FJB has a clip up of RZims "error" where Adam didn't scoop the ball. While I think AD's been pretty OK defense wise, and while no doubt the wet field played a part...I just came upon a clip from Alexi Ramirez of the Chisox last night.Great fielding play-similar to RZims'-but Konerko gets the scoop.

Nick used to be real good at that.Maybe we could send Guzzie straight up for Alexi!
Also....still haven't seen any confirmation on the Maya signing from any of the national websites. And StanK-on the radio-sez we're chock FULL of great arms, Gang!
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | July 21, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Start Yunieski Maya! It's time for irrational exuberance!!!!


Posted by: kevincostello | July 21, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Chico and Martis are on the 40-man roster. Arneson and Thompson are not which means someone would have to be DFA'ed or moved to the 60-man DL to bring them up. It would also use up an option to bring up either one of them or Martis.

Chico would appear to be the logical choice unless Detwiler was deemed ready or they decided to bring Lannan back.

Posted by: Section314 | July 21, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

CHICO! he's got 40 career MLB starts. enuff said.

Posted by: destewar | July 21, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

"But what about Olsen?"

Olsen appears to be doing fine, but is still being stretched out. His next outing will almost certainly not be more than five innings.

Check back in a couple weeks.

Posted by: Hendo1 | July 21, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Did I miss the part where there was something wrong with Matt Chico? Those numbers look perfectly fine by me.

Give him another shot. He's always been a good bottom of the rotation type option, and he's a headline writer's dream come true.

Posted by: Fozzie1 | July 21, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Woodbridge is the place to be this week...

Tonight - Rosenbaum/Zimmermann double dip

Tomorrow - Olsen

Posted by: Kev29 | July 21, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

With such a distinguished list of AAAA, AAA and AA choices, perhaps we can bring back Brian Bruney for a spot start instead.

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | July 21, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Pitch the new Cuban. Either that, or just choose anyone at random off the street outside the park. It'll be bigger than Eddie Gaedel (joke intended).

Posted by: Fairfax6 | July 21, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Detwiler went 7 shutout innings today. If he's not ready, he's close.

Posted by: sjt1455 | July 21, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

His mom says he's irreplaceable.

Posted by: octobertea | July 21, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

That list just shows you the Nats minor league system has a long way to go. Talk about craptastic. I think Rizzo should put all the names on a dart board and close his eyes and throw a dart.

I personally would like to see Martis.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 21, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

hanenjo: This team doesn't have enough talent to have a doghouse,Martis should have been given a start weeks ago but for some unexplained reason, this kid can't catch a break and as i've said he certainly can't be any worse than what we've seen.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 21, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Nice guy John Lannan and I have rooted for him to be successful but he lacks the variety of pitches needed to survive in the Bigs...His sinker is great but he is too fast ball to keep hitters off balance til his sinker returns... He reminds me so much of Moyer in many ways but lacks control..Afraid he will never make it back to DC...

Posted by: pentagon40 | July 21, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

dargregmag: I can't agree with you more. He has shown he can pitch better at the major level than anyof the other clowns. I still can't for the life of me figure out why they sent him down last year. That game against the O's (his last game) was not his fault.

Posted by: hansenjo | July 21, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

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