The Washington Times - July 12, 2013, 06:54PM

MIAMI — The Washington Nationals are hopeful that when they return from next week’s All-Star break they will be that much closer to getting another player back on their active roster and fully healthy.

Left-hander Ross Detwiler is scheduled to begin throwing on Saturday for the first time since he was placed on the disabled list on July 7 with a lower back strain. 


The Nationals’ hope is that Detwiler will be healthy enough to return in the No. 5 spot in their rotation out of the break. But they will not rush him, either, as this is his second stint on the disabled list this season with a back issue and they want him to be operating at full strength in the second half.

“He’s real close,” manager Davey Johnson said Friday.

Detwiler appeared poised for a stellar season when he began the year with a 2.76 ERA in his first eight starts, impressing many with his ability to rely primarily on well-located fastballs. 

But his back tightened up on him in his start against the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 15, and he missed the next month of the season with what the team called a right back muscle strain. 

He returned to the Nationals’ rotation one June 13, but pitched to a 6.31 ERA and averaged just more than five innings per start. 

After he tossed six innings and allowed two earned runs against the Brewers on July 3, Detwiler appeared in obvious discomfort, and in an effort to get the issue entirely behind him, the team opted to place him on the disabled list again.

The Nationals are eager to get their tall left-hander back — and healthy.

Without Detwiler, and as Stephen Strasburg and Dan Haren have also dealt with injuries, the Nationals’ starting pitching depth has been tested significantly.

While Taylor Jordan will remain in Detwiler’s spot in the rotation for the time being, the team insists they are not in the market for a starter because of how much of a boost they feel Detwiler would give their rotation.