- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 11, 2007

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Ross Detwiler lost 6-4 in his D.C. area debut, but the Washington Nationals” first-round pick showed why the organization expects him to be a staple in its big league rotation.

Detwiler, the sixth overall pick in the June draft out of Missouri State, debuted for the Class A Potomac Nationals against Winston-Salem last night at Pfitzner Stadium, giving up two runs on eight hits — four doubles and four singles — and no walks in 42/3 innings. But he showed composure and command of his pitches, working out of several jams.

“I was decent,” Detwiler said. “Not good. Not bad. You can’t leave the ball up here. In college and in the [Gulf Coast League], I got away with it a little bit. Here it really hurts you.”

With a tantalizing curveball to complement his low-90s fastball and change-up, Detwiler, 21, had two strikeouts but was pulled in the fifth innings after hitting his only batter. Detwiler (0-1, 3.86 in Class A) gave up only three hard hits, and two were infield singles.

He left after 79 pitches (54 strikes) with the visiting Warthogs ahead 2-1 before a modest crowd. He was on an 85-pitch limit.

“I thought he did pretty well,” Potomac manager Randy Knorr said. “The only thing he did was leave the ball up. Other than that, he threw the ball well, he made some good pitches. I look forward to seeing him a couple more times.”

Detwiler avoided big innings several times against the Chicago White Sox”s farm team. After allowing a run in the second on a two-out double by C.J. Lang, he enticed Matt Sharp into an inning-ending groundout. Detwiler allowed a run on a two-out single by Javier Castillo in third. But with runners on second and third, he kept things close by getting Rod Allen to fly out to center.

Detwiler could be making a short stop in Northern Virginia on his way to RFK Stadium. A few successful starts could get him promoted to Class AA Harrisburg, and several positive outings there could earn him a call-up to Washington.

He made four starts for the Nationals’ rookie league team in Florida after receiving a $2.15 million signing bonus on July 5. Detwiler had a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings in the Gulf Coast League and did not allow a run in three of his outings before being promoted to Potomac on Monday.

Detwiler was scheduled to start Thursday at Frederick, Md., but the game was rained out.

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