SAN FRANCISCO — Ross Detwiler stood by the railing of the Nationals’ dugout at AT&T Park on Monday and smiled as he chatted with coaches and teammates. Normally, it would’ve been his day to pitch, but a slight right oblique strain forced him to miss this start.
The good news, though, was that the left-hander had perhaps his most encouraging day since he was pulled from Wednesday’s game after three innings.
“Feeling great today,” Detwiler said. “The trainers and everybody are just really pressing me to make sure it’s completely gone before I start anything.
“Today’s one of those positive days. I feel like if I have as much progress as I did last night again tonight, I can start doing stuff soon.”
Detwiler’s progress between Sunday and Monday afternoon was so great that he felt if he continued to take those kinds of steps forward into Tuesday, he’d feel up to playing catch.
That was the plan, anyway. And if that goes well, Detwiler will progress in his activities.
The hope is Monday night’s game against the Giants will be the only start he’ll have to miss.
“That’s what I’m really shooting for,” he said. “It’s been a pretty good day so far.”
Because of an off-day on Thursday, the Nationals could delay Detwiler’s next start until May 28 and continue to keep the rest of their starters on regular rest.
His possible session of catch on Tuesday, though, will give them a better idea of where they’re at.
If things don’t go the way Detwiler and the Nationals hope, and manager Davey Johnson feels understaffed in the bullpen with his left-handed long man, Zach Duke, in the rotation in Detwiler’s place, one course the team could take would be optioning a position player and bringing up another reliever to bolster the bullpen until things return to normal.