- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 9, 2007

SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

ATLANTA — The day after, Ross Detwiler admitted his major league debut was still pretty much a blur.

“The adrenaline was really flowing,” said the Nationals left-hander, who on Friday became the first player from the 2007 draft to reach the major leagues.

Detwiler had trouble controlling his breaking ball because of his excitement but pitched around third baseman Ryan Zimmerman’s third error for a scoreless eighth inning in Washington’s 7-1 loss to Atlanta.

The St. Louis native struck out Willie Harris looking to end the inning, stranding a runner at second base.

“I’m kind of beside myself right now,” Detwiler said after the game.

The 21-year-old made nine starts in the low minor leagues, going 2-2 with a 3.51 ERA. He never had pitched above the Class A Carolina League before facing the Braves, who sent Andruw Jones to the plate for his first batter.

“He didn’t look intimidated,” Nationals manager Manny Acta said.

Jones grounded out against Detwiler, who got Matt Diaz on a fly ball and then Harris looking at strike three after Yunel Escobar reached on Zimmerman’s throwing error.

Detwiler’s fastball reached the mid-90s and he put 12 of his 19 pitches over the plate.

“I’m pretty impressed a guy his size is able to throw the ball so hard, especially being left handed,” Acta said of the 6-foot-5 but skinny Detwiler. “He’s a ways away from being the dominant guy we’re envisioning and being part of our rotation, but it was a good glimpse.”

Detwiler was the sixth overall pick in the draft out of Missouri State. Zimmerman (2005) and closer Chad Cordero (2003) also reached the majors with the organization the same year they were picked in the first round.

Surgery lies ahead for Hill

Right-hander Shawn Hill will need surgery on his left shoulder during the offseason, but a decision hasn’t been made on whether he will be operated on immediately or have the procedure postponed.

“We’re probably leaning toward having the surgery as soon as possible so he can rehab,” Acta said. “Our first thought was getting him more innings … in winter ball or the instructional league … [But] it’s something that has to be taken care of. [His shoulder] still doesn’t feel normal.”

Hill was hurt running the bases in late April and was sidelined three months before returning to the Washington rotation in mid-August. He takes a 3-3 record and 2.98 ERA into tomorrow’s start at Florida.

Guzman still on hold

Cristian Guzman nearly has recovered from his thumb injury, but Acta won’t rush the shortstop back before the end of the season.

“There’s no timetable,” the manager said. “I’d just prefer him to heal completely and have him play winter ball and have him back for next season.”

Guzman hasn’t played since late June, when he tore ligaments in his left thumb making a tag. He was hitting .329 when injured and has one more season remaining on his four-year, $16.8 million contract.

Guzman is taking ground balls, but isn’t quite ready for full batting practice yet.

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