Detwiler to start again Saturday

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Ross Detwiler woke up this morning uncertain where he’d be going to sleep. He knew he would be coming to Nationals Park in the morning to work out. After that? Well, either he’d be told he was staying in the big leagues for five more days or being sent to Class AAA Syracuse to continue his progression.

The answer finally came: Detwiler will stay here for now. He’ll start Saturday night against the Orioles, hoping to build off a strong debut last night against the Pirates.

The decision was based in part on the 23-year-old’s hard numbers from last night (five innings, two earned runs, no walks, six strikeouts) but perhaps more on his mound presence and demeanor. As acting GM Mike Rizzo put it, comparing the Detwiler who looked lost in spring training to the Detwiler who looked perfectly comfortable last night: “I saw from a minor-league guy in a major-league spring training to a major-league pitcher on a major-league team when he got brought up. That’s a lot of our thought process for giving him another start Saturday.”

Does that mean Detwiler’s here to stay? Probably not. The plan all along has been to let him develop this season, first at Class AA Harrisburg, then at Syracuse, then ultimately in the big league come August or September. But as long as things are going well here and the Nats have the need for another starter (as they do now with Scott Olsen on the DL) they’ll stick with the kid.

“If he hits a snag, we’ll put him back in Triple-A and let him use this as a stepping stone and work his way up,” Rizzo said. “Because he’s well ahead of my perceived schedule for him.”

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Mark Zuckerman

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