- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 9, 2007

After thriving in the daytime heat in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, Washington Nationals first-round pick Ross Detwiler will make his high Class A Carolina League debut tonight.

Detwiler, a left-hander from Missouri State who was picked sixth overall, is scheduled to start for the Potomac Nationals in their game at Frederick. He had a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings over four starts in the GCL, striking out 15 while walking three and allowing 11 hits.

“I graduated from boot camp,” said Detwiler, who seemed especially relaxed yesterday outside the visiting clubhouse in Frederick. “I am really just focusing in on hitting spots rather than throwing hard. The hitters up here will catch up to a fastball no matter how hard you throw it, so you really have to work on staying low [in the strike zone] and hitting spots.”

With the rookie team in Viera, Fla., Detwiler regularly threw fastballs in the low to mid-90s and did not allow a run in three of his four outings. The 6-foot-5, 185-pounder was elevated to Potomac after an outing in which he threw four shutout innings, allowing two hits while striking out five.

Nationals officials have praised Detwiler since he was chosen and have even suggested he could be pitching for Washington this season. He received a $2.15 million signing bonus after coming to terms last month.

The prospect has heard the hype but downplays it, preferring to focus on the next start. Meanwhile, Potomac manager Randy Knorr is anxious to get his first look at the projected future big league staple.

“I really don’t know anything about him,” said Knorr, who will have Detwiler on a pitch count of 85. “We are just excited to see him pitch. I want to see his makeup, how he handles himself on the mound and how he goes after hitters. Is he able to throw strikes?”

Jon Siegel

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