The Washington Times - July 5, 2011, 03:31PM

The Nationals made official the move to bring up their starting pitcher, Ross Detwiler, for Tuesday’s start and in clearing room for Detwiler on the 25-man roster, they designated reliever Collin Balester for assignment.

It is a bit of a confusing procedural move because Balester had an option remaining that the Nationals had been using to shuffle him back and forth to Triple-A Syracuse this season. But because Balester has more than three years of service time with the major league team, it’s a little different than a regular DFA. Balester is expected to be pitching for Triple-A Syracuse by Thursday, a Nationals spokesman said.

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While Balester was here, he passed the third anniversary of his major league debut. Once that happens, a player has to be placed on optional waivers before he can be returned to the minor leagues. 

Here’s the description from Baseball Prospectus of this type of move:

Optional major-league waivers are required when optioning a player who is more than three calendar years removed from his first appearance on a major-league roster. This procedure allows a club to send a player to the minor leagues while keeping him on the 40-man roster. Because optional waivers are revocable, players usually clear in this scenario. In the unlikely event a player is claimed, his club may not option him to the minor leagues, and any subsequent waiver request during the same period becomes irrevocable.

Basically it’s a procedural move to return Balester to Triple-A. He is not leaving the organization and while he will not be on the team’s 40-man roster for the next two days, he will return to the 40-man on Thursday when he is expected to return to action with Syracuse.

In the meantime, Detwiler makes his first MLB start of the season.

Here are the lineups behind him:

Nationals:

Roger Bernadina LF
Danny Espinosa 2B
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Laynce Nix 1B
Jayson Werth RF
Rick Ankiel CF
Wilson Ramos C
Ian Desmond SS
Ross Detwiler P 

Cubs:

Reed Johnson RF
Jeff Baker 2B
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Geovany Soto C
Alfonso Soriano LF
Marlon Byrd CF
Carlos Pena 1B
Darwin Barney SS
Ramon Ortiz P